PHIL TAYLOR hit an incredible nine-dart finish against Michael Smith at the BetVictor World Matchplay on Wednesday as 13-6 victory moved him into the quarter-finals alongside Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson and Wes Newton.

Taylor had hit the tournament’s first nine-dart finish back in 2002, and repeated the feat in amazing fashion against Smith.

Having gone 2-0 down as the former World Youth Champion posted back-to-back 14-dart legs, Taylor took out three 126 checkouts as he won six successive legs to move 6-2 up.

He then opened the ninth leg with 180 and 177 before finishing 144 with two more treble 20s and double 12 as he completed another amazing achievement.

Taylor went on to complete a 13-6 win, ending the game with a brilliant ten-dart leg and posting an average of 105.64 as well as hitting more than half of his darts at a double – but it was the nine-darter which grabbed the headlines.

“It was a phenomenal game,” said Taylor. “It’s a memorable night for me and for everybody who supports me and I’m pleased as punch.

“I thought that there might be a nine-darter against Michael because he’s a really good, up-and-coming player and one to watch for the future – he doesn’t give in.

“The three 126 finishes were the killer and the nine-darter was the icing on the cake. Towards the end of the game I relaxed a little bit and that’s not like me, and I won’t do that again.

“I think I can improve further, especially on my stamina, but I’m improving and I’ll get myself ready now for the quarter-finals on Friday.”

Earlier in a dramatic night, Wes Newton came from 5-0 down to complete a remarkable comeback for the second successive game, surviving five match darts against Paul Nicholson before winning 15-13.

Newton had come from 8-4 down to win his first round game with Ronnie Baxter in a tie-break, and bettered that fightback to win through to the last eight in Blackpool for the second time, where he now meets Taylor.

Newton was punished for wasting eight darts at doubles in the opening five legs, with Nicholson taking full advantage as he moved clear in a run which included a 142 checkout.

Fleetwood’s Newton took the next two to revive his challenge, and after Nicholson recovered to move 8-3 up, the number ten produced an 11-darter to kick-start a run of four successive legs as he pulled back to 8-7.

Nicholson denied him the chance to level as he finished 95 and double eight to move three legs up, only for Newton to then finish 139 in a run of three legs to level.

Nicholson then won the next two legs to move to the brink of victory at 12-10 – but missed the bullseye and double one for the win in the next as Newton powered in a 160 checkout to sensationally keep the game alive.

He then missed three more match darts as Newton levelled at 12-all, and though Nicholson regained the lead, Newton won three successive legs to complete another gutsy comeback win.

“It was unbelievable,” admitted Newton. “During the game I knew that most legs I lost I had chances in, and fair play to Paul because he took his chances.

“I always felt that I was scoring better than Paul and I just had to forget the scoreline and concentrate on each leg, and if I took my chances I could claw it back.

“At the minute I’m fighting, I’m battling and hanging in there. It’s no secret that I’ve come into this in not the best of form, but I guess every player goes through that – my confidence is low at the minute and that showed in my doubles early on.

“Winning games breeds confidence and that’s what I need at the minute. I’m so happy with myself – the 160 finish, when Paul was on a double, was do or die and I did it, and it’s possibly the best shot of my career.

“It’s good for me – just what I need. I’ve got to try and put things right for Friday because deep down inside I know I’m going to come through this bad patch, and I’ll give it my all.”

Gary Anderson then produced his best performance on the Winter Gardens stage as he overcame Stephen Bunting 13-8, averaging over 104 and hitting ten 180s in a superb display.

The Scot had never previously won past the second round in five previous Winter Gardens appearances, but continued the form which has taken him to five ranking wins so far in 2014 against the PDC newcomer.

Anderson stormed into a 5-0 lead as he dominated the early stages, only for Bunting to reply with three successive legs as he cut the gap to 5-3, hitting a 167 finish in the process.

Anderson restored a five-leg cushion before posting an 11-dart leg, and replied to a 122 finish from Bunting with a 103 checkout as he moved 12-7 up.

Bunting kept his hopes alive briefly with an 11-darter of his own, but Anderson posted his tenth maximum of the game before sealing his last eight berth on double five.

“It’s my best display here in the last few years, so maybe I’ve got a bit of sunstroke!” joked Anderson. “The first five legs were fantastic and throughout the game my scoring was fine and my doubles were fine.

“Stephen’s a fast player and I love a fast game. I wanted to see how fast he can play so I sped him up, and it worked!

“I’m not playing as well on stage as I have been doing in the floor tournaments, and it all depends on which Gary Anderson turns up on the day, but I’m enjoying my darts and I can’t wait for Friday now.”

Anderson will meet world number three Adrian Lewis in a mouth-watering quarter-final tie on Friday night, after the 2013 runner-up overcame Mervyn King 13-8 in their second round clash.

Lewis had averaged 110 in his whitewash of Andrew Gilding in the first round, and though he failed to repeat the spectacular scoring of that contest, he proved clinical by taking out 45 percent of his darts at a double to see off King.

King led 2-0 and 3-1, but Lewis turned the game by taking six successive legs to move 7-3 up, and extended his advantage to five legs at 10-5 before holding off a brief rally from his opponent to seal victory with a 113 checkout.

“I ground out a good result there,” said Lewis. “I wasn’t up to scratch scoring wise but I got the job done and finished well tonight.

“Mervyn’s a classy player and he picked out some good shots early on. If you give him chances he’ll take them, but I kept him under pressure and to come out of the game with an average just under 100 is steady.”

Lewis added: “Gary was fantastic against Stephen tonight and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of playing him on Friday.

“His form has been fantastic this year and mine is getting there – I won the UK Open in March and have been playing well, so it should be a great game.”

The quarter-finals begin on Thursday night with the games involving the remaining four players from the top half of the draw bracket.

2007 World Matchplay champion James Wade opens the night against number four seed Simon Whitlock, before World Champion Michael van Gerwen then faces Dave Chisnall at the last eight stage.

BetVictor World Matchplay Darts Results

Wednesday July 23
Second Round
Paul Nicholson 13-15 Wes Newton
Stephen Bunting 8-13 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 13-6 Michael Smith
Adrian Lewis 13-8 Mervyn King

Thursday July 24
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Quarter-Finals
James Wade v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall

Friday July 25
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Quarter-Finals
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor v Wes Newton

Quarter-Finals – Best of 31 legs
* Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth “extra” leg is sudden-death.

MATCH INFORMATION
Paul Nicholson v Wes Newton
0-0 – Paul Nicholson wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 – Nicholson finishes double 16 to win the opening leg.
2-0 – Newton misses three darts at double 16, and Nicholson pins double 18 for a 66 finish to break throw.
3-0 – Nicholson misses tops for a 74 finish, but two misses at the same bed allow him to return and move three legs clear.
4-0 – Newton misses the bull to finish 127, and is unable to claim the leg in two further visits – taking his total number of missed doubles so far in the game to eight – as he allows Nicholson in to break once again on double 18.
5-0 – Nicholson moves five legs clear with a brilliant 142 checkout, hitting two treble 17s and tops.
5-1 – Newton lands double eight to finally get off the mark.
5-2 – Newton misses the bull for a 122 finish, but Nicholson is unable to capitalise as the local favourite returns on double eight to continue his revival.
6-2 – Nicholson hits a 180, and punishes further misses from Newton by landing double 16.
7-2 – Nicholson initially misses three darts at tops, but is again able to return and land double ten to regain his five-leg lead.
7-3 – Nicholson misses darts at double 16 and eight, and Newton steps in to finish 78 on the bull to claim a third leg.
8-3 – Nicholson posts his second 180 of the game before landing tops to move five legs clear once more.
8-4 – Newton opens with a 180 before taking out 81 for an 11-darter.
8-5 – Newton lands double 12 again, this time to finish 78 as his fightback continues.
8-6 – The gap is cut to two legs as Newton finishes 60 on tops.
8-7 – Nicholson misses double eight and two darts at double four to stem the tide, but Newton returns to land tops to reduce the gap to one leg after taking four in a row.
9-7 – Newton misses his chance to draw level as Nicholson steps in to finish 95 in two darts with a treble 19, double 19 combination.
10-7 – Newton misses the bull to finish 84, and Nicholson posts double eight as he gives himself breathing space.
10-8 – Newton finishes double five with his third dart as he hits back again.
10-9 – The Fleetwood ace completes a superb 139 finish with treble 20, treble 13 and tops to reduce the gap to one leg once more.
10-10 – Newton finishes 50 on double ten to level the game – having won ten of the last 15 legs.
11-10 – Newton hits a 174 score to leave 16, but the effort is in vain as Nicholson finishes double 16 to regain the lead.
12-10 – Nicholson takes out double 16 as he moves to the brink of victory.
12-11 – The game takes an amazing turn as Nicholson misses the bull for a 126 finish, before then missing double one for victory on his return, allowing Newton to take out 160 to keep the game alive.
12-12 – Newton initially misses two darts at double two – after hitting a treble 18 instead of the intended single when needing 58 – but Nicholson misses three further match darts at double top and ten to allow the local favourite back in on double two.
13-12 – Newton misses the bull for a 164 finish and two further darts at double eight and four, and Nicholson lands double 16 to move back ahead.
13-13 – The pair trade 180s as Newton leaves 36 after nine darts before landing double 18 to level.
13-14 – Newton fires in tops to lead for the first time in the game.
13-15 – Newton completes an incredible comeback by finishing double 16 for the win.

Stephen Bunting v Gary Anderson
0-0 – Gary Anderson wins the bull and will throw first
0-1 – Anderson opens in explosive fashion as he lands two 180s to take the first leg.
0-2 – Bunting misses a dart at tops, and Anderson breaks throw on double 16.
0-3 – Double 12 sees Anderson win a third successive leg.
0-4 – The Scot finishes 84 to break throw for a second time.
0-5 – Anderson wins a fifth successive leg as he pulls clear of his opponent.
1-5 – Anderson misses a chance to move six legs clear, and Bunting posts double 18 to get off the mark.
2-5 – Bunting’s revival continues with a brilliant 167 checkout.
3-5 – The Lakeside Champion wins a third successive leg, finishing 72 on double six.
3-6 – Anderson stops Bunting’s fightback in its tracks by finishing 81 on double 12.
3-7 – Anderson lands two 180s in the leg, and when Bunting bursts his score when needing 76 – hitting double 11 instead of double eight – the Scot finishes double four to move four legs clear again.
3-8 – Anderson lands his seventh maximum of the game as he regains his five-leg lead.
4-8 – The Scot misses two darts at double 18 and one at double nine to allow Bunting to step in on double ten.
4-9 – Anderson fires in a maximum before taking out 89 on double 16 for an 11-dart leg.
4-10 – Anderson moves his average up to 111 with a ninth 180, and when Bunting misses double 16 the former Premier League champion takes out double four.
5-10 – Bunting lands a 180 before finishing double eight to cut the gap.
6-10 – Anderson misses tops for a 120 finish, and Bunting takes out double 17 to win a second successive leg.
7-10 – Bunting this time finishes 122 on double seven as he pulls back to trail by only three legs.
7-11 – Anderson replies with his highest checkout of the game, finishing 103 on double 16.
7-12 – Anderson finishes double ten to move one leg away from victory.
8-12 – Bunting lands his third 180 of the game before finishing double 16 for an 11-darter.
8-13 – Anderson posts a tenth maximum – but misses a dart at tops and two at double ten to complete the win, only for Bunting to miss double 16 and allow him back in on double five to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time.

Phil Taylor v Michael Smith
0-0 – Phil Taylor wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 – Smith takes advantage of a miss at tops from Taylor to break immediately by hitting the same bed for a 14-darter.
0-2 – Smith finishes tops again for a second successive 14-dart leg.
1-2 – Smith opens with 140 and 180, but Taylor replies with a 177 before taking out 126 on double six to get off the mark.
2-2 – Taylor punishes Smith for failing to restore his cushion by landing double six with his third dart as he levels.
3-2 – Smith misses the bull for another break of throw, and Taylor lands double 16 to move ahead.
4-2 – Taylor hits his first 180 of the game as he leaves 40, before hitting tops for a 13-dart leg.
5-2 – Taylor finishes 126 for a second time in the game, this time completing the combination on the bull to win a fifth successive leg.
6-2 – Taylor adds a second 180 before landing a third 126 checkout, hitting the bull for a second successive leg.
7-2 – PHIL TAYLOR HITS NINE-DART FINISH! Taylor opens with scores of 180 and 177 before finishing 144 with two treble 20s and double 12 to achieve a perfect leg for the second time in Blackpool!
8-2 – Taylor hits another 180, and when Smith misses the bull for a 121 finish, the reigning champion lands double 16 to win an eighth successive leg.
8-3 – Smith fires in an 11-darter, landing a 180 and finishing tops.
8-4 – Smith wins another leg as he continues his revival – although it came with his third visit for a double after Taylor first miscounted to burst his score on 71 before missing the bull for the combination on the next visit, allowing the youngster in on double five.
9-4 – Taylor lands another bullseye finish, taking out 93 to restore his cushion.
10-4 – Smith opens with a fourth 180 of the game, but misses the bull to allow Taylor in to finish 65 on tops.
11-4 – Taylor again capitalises on a Smith miss by finishing double four to move two legs away from the win.
12-4 – Taylor moves to the brink of victory with a break of throw.
12-5 – Smith takes out 64 on tops as he keeps his hopes alive.
12-6 – Smith misses double eight to finish 76, but Taylor is unable to land tops and the youngster takes out double eight to stay in the game.
13-6 – Taylor seals victory with a stunning ten-dart leg – despite Smith setting up a possible nine-dart finish with two 180s only to miss out on the 141 finish to match the earlier achievement of his opponent, who replies with a 177 and 171 to leave double eight as he records a brilliant winning leg.

Adrian Lewis v Mervyn King
0-0 – Adrian Lewis wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 – Lewis hits a 180, but misses four darts at doubles to win the opening leg as King steps in with a 76 finish to break.
0-2 – King takes out 101 on tops to double his advantage.
1-2 – Lewis finishes 60 on tops as he gets off the mark.
1-3 – King takes out 32 with an improvised combination of double seven and double nine.
2-3 – Lewis replies by hitting double seven.
3-3 – Lewis kicks off the leg with a 180 before taking out 90 on tops to level with a break of throw.
4-3 – Lewis wins a third successive leg by finishing 76 on double eight.
5-3 – King misses double 16 and double eight, allowing Lewis in for another break of throw.
6-3 – Lewis fires in double 16 to take a three-leg advantage.
7-3 – Lewis wins his sixth successive leg to move four clear of King.
7-4 – King takes out 33 to hit back with a break of throw.
7-5 – King lands double eight as he wins a second successive leg.
8-5 – Lewis finishes double ten as he regains his cushion.
9-5 – Lewis hits a 180 to leave 42 before taking out the finish to break throw again.
10-5 – Lewis takes out 97 on double 18 as he takes a five-leg lead.
10-6 – Tops sees King respond.
10-7 – King breaks throw to continue his revival.
10-8 – King finishes 46 as he wins a third successive leg.
11-8 – Lewis fires in a 174 score as he moves two legs away from the quarter-finals.
12-8 – Lewis takes out 93 on double 18 to move to the brink of victory.
13-8 – Lewis completes the win by taking out 113 on double 18.

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