PHIL TAYLOR continued his quest for a clean sweep of the major televised darts titles by romping to a 9-0 win over Colin Lloyd in the quarter-finals of the coral.co.uk Players Championship.

The 14-time World Champion has won every major PDC tournament since last June’s UK Open, and remains on course for a £50,000 jackpot at the Circus Tavern on Sunday night.

After seeing off Dutch duo Michael van Gerwen and Vincent van der Voort with averages of 108, he destroyed Lloyd 9-0 with a clinical, if below-par, display.

He now meets Ronnie Baxter in Sunday afternoon’s semi-finals, with James Wade and Robert Thornton clashing in the other last four encounter.

“I’m not happy about doing that to Colin but I had to be professional and do the job,” said Taylor. “I’m determined to win this title and have two more hurdles to get over.”

Baxter claimed his place in the last four in style with a 9-5 win over Mervyn King, hitting a 167 finish and winning five successive legs to take the win.

Wade edged out van Barneveld 9-8 in their quarter-final, with the Dutchman coming from 4-0 down to lead before the world number two – who hit a 167 of his own early on – claimed victory in the decider.

Robert Thornton won through to his second major PDC semi-final with a 9-5 defeat of Dennis Priestley in the other quarter-final.

Priestley had come from 5-0 down to win 6-5 against John Part earlier in the day, but could not repeat the heroics as the Scot set up a clash with Wade.

coral.co.uk Players Championship
Second Round
Robert Thornton 6-2 Alan Tabern
Dennis Priestley 6-5 John Part
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Andy Smith
James Wade 6-5 Kevin Painter
Mervyn King 6-4 Wayne Mardle
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Wayne Jones
Colin Lloyd 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor 6-3 Vincent van der Voort

Quarter-Finals
Evening Session
Robert Thornton 9-5 Dennis Priestley
James Wade 9-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Ronnie Baxter 9-5 Mervyn King
Phil Taylor 9-0 Colin Lloyd

Semi-Finals
Sunday (1pm)
James Wade v Robert Thornton
Phil Taylor v Ronnie Baxter
Best of 25 legs

Final (7pm)
Best of 31 legs

ROBERT THORNTON 9-5 DENNIS PRIESTLEY

ROBERT THORNTON booked a semi-final spot at the coral.co.uk Players Championship with a 9-5 victory over Dennis Priestley.

Priestley came back from 5-0 down to defeat John Part in the second round earlier on Saturday, but was not able to produce the heroics this time around as the Scot advanced to his second televised PDC semi-final.

Thornton started the match well by holding throw to take a 1-0 lead, before Priestley took the second leg and then broke throw in the next by landing double four for a 2-1 cushion.

But the Yorkshireman was unable to maintain the advantage as Thornton immediately broke back by hitting double 16 to take the fourth leg.

The next four legs were held with throw to leave the contest finely poised at 4-4.

Thornton continued the sequence to lead 5-4 and then broke the deadlock by winning the tenth leg for a 6-4 lead after Priestley missed three darts at doubles.

Thornton hit the first maximum of the game in the 11th leg in the process of the moving into a 7-4 lead, but Priestley pulled a leg back by landing double 10 after the Scot had missed a chance to convert a 128 checkout.

Thornton won the next leg in 13 darts to move one away from victory, and then landed his second 180 of the game before making Priestley pay for five missed darts at double 18 to land the winning double and seal the win.

“I think it was a game too far,” admitted Priestley. “I’ve no excuses, Robert played very well, didn’t give me any chances and I didn’t take them when I was given them.”

Thornton said: “He’s one of the hardest players to beat and I’ve never beaten Dennis before. But I was determined to end that and it’s great to be in the semi-finals.”

JAMES WADE 9-8 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

JAMES WADE edged out Raymond van Barneveld in a deciding leg battle to win a semi-final spot at the coral.co.uk Players Championship.

Wade has overtaken the Dutchman as world number two this year, and extended his psychological advantage in an intriguing contest.

Wade exploded out of the blocks, kicking off the match with back-to-back 180s before seeing a potential nine-darter go beginning, although he did take the first leg in 11.

Three missed doubles from the Dutchman were punished by double top as he doubled his lead and then went 3-0 up on double ten.

Wade then put himself in line for a £2,000 bonus with a sensational 167 checkout, the highest yet so far in the tournament, in going 4-0 up before van Barneveld got off the mark in the fifth.

The Dutchman’s ploy of slowing down the keen left-hander worked as he took two further breaks of throw in a run of five successive legs as he took a 5-4 lead.

Wade hit back on double 12 to level and then went 7-5 up with a 106 checkout, finishing on double 13.

Van Barneveld hit the same bed to break back before defying a maximum from Wade to square the contest again.

Wade landed another 180 and double five in taking an 8-7 cushion, before an 11-darter from van Barneveld kept the game alive and ensured a decider.

Both players saw the high scoring which had littered most of the contest desert them as the tension rose, but it was Wade who took out double five to book his semi-final place against Robert Thornton.

“I think I got away with it!” said Wade. “I made the most of my chances and showed plenty of will to win.

“I’m having some close games but I’m winning and can look forward to the semis now.”

RONNIE BAXTER 9-5 MERVYN KING

RONNIE BAXTER reached the semi-finals of the coral.co.uk Players Championship with an impressive performance to end Mervyn King’s hopes of a first major PDC title with a 9-5 triumph.

Baxter, who came from behind to defeat Tony Eccles and Wayne Jones in the opening two rounds, put a together a string of five winning legs to from 5-4 down to come through in excellent style.

King took the first leg of the match and then broke throw with a 13-dart finish which included a 177 score.

Baxter broke back with a 14-darter but King immediately restored his two-leg advantage with the aid of a maximum to lead 3-1.

But Baxter stormed back to take the next three legs in a row, landing a 96 finish to level at three-all and then converting a fantastic 167 checkout to lead for the first time in the game – and also give himself a provisional share of the £2,000 high checkout prize.

King, who defeated Wayne Mardle in the second round, took the next two legs to regain the lead, but Baxter won the tenth leg to leave the match in the balance at 5-5.

Baxter broke throw in the 11th leg to lead for the second time in the match, despite King hitting his third maximum of the game.

Both players hit 180s in the next leg, but it was Baxter who landed the winning double to increase his lead to 7-5.

Baxter continued the winning streak in the 13th leg to go within touching distance of victory, and the Lancastrian wrapped up the win in the next leg by landing double top.

“I knuckled down when he came back at me and managed to get through,” said Baxter. “It’s an unreal game sometimes.

“After hitting the 167 I threw rubbish and I can’t explain it. Sometimes I get wayward but I’m hitting my doubles at the right time.”

PHIL TAYLOR 9-0 COLIN LLOYD

PHIL TAYLOR set-up a semi-final clash with Ronnie Baxter after defeating Colin Lloyd with a whitewash victory at the coral.co.uk Players Championship.

Taylor never reached top gear during the contest but the Essex ace was unable to produce the kind of form he showed in his victories over Jamie Caven and Andy Hamilton in his previous matches.

The 14-time World Champion won the opening leg with an 88 finish and then broke throw in 13 darts by landing double 12 after Lloyd had missed a dart at tops to level.

The man from Chelmsford missed double seven for a 134 checkout in the next and Taylor landed double two to increase his lead to 3-0.

Taylor converted finishes of 66 and 58 to move 5-0 up, and a 98 finish put the Stoke ace six legs clear.

A deflated Lloyd had no answers as Taylor won the next two to move a leg away from victory, which was secured with a 14-darter.

“I knew I had to get on top of Colin as quickly as I could and I had to be professional and do the job,” said Taylor. “I’m not happy about doing that to him but he isn’t performing the way he can do.

“His confidence is growing and he’ll go back to the practice board. Sometimes when you get beaten it can make you a better player.

“I kept plodding on and did what I had to do to get the win. I’m determined to get this title and have two more hurdles to get over on Sunday.”

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