PHIL TAYLOR warmed up in style for the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with victory in the Las Vegas Players Championship on Sunday.

Taylor claimed his ninth PDC Pro Tour title of the year in fine fashion at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, reaching the quarter-finals without dropping a set before going on to claim the £5,000 first prize.

Taylor came from a set down to defeat Michael van Gerwen in the quarters, was a 3-1 winner against Mark Walsh in the semis and then repeated that scoreline in the final against Ronnie Baxter.

Baxter, from Blackpool, had threatened an upset in a fine final, taking the second set 2-1 in superb fashion after Taylor edged the first 2-0.

However, Taylor found another gear to take the third set without reply, and also took successive legs to seal victory in set four.

Taylor now has a two-day break before the Las Vegas Desert Classic begins on Wednesday, with players outside the PDC’s top 12 having to battle in two days of qualifiers on Monday and Tuesday for 16 places in the event.

Baxter, the world number 13, is one of over 200 who will be playing in those qualifiers, and enters in fine form after his run to the final on Sunday, which earned him £2,500.

He was twice taken to the final leg in five-set games in the latter stages, against Steve Beaton and Terry Jenkins, before defeating Germany’s Michael Rosenauer in straight sets in the semi-finals.

Rosenauer’s run was his best in a PDC event, but will not push him far enough up the Players Championship Order of Merit to see him take one of the 16 places in the Stan James World Matchplay.

Bill Davis produced the best performance from a north American with his run to the last 16, where he lost to van Gerwen.

Mark Frost cemented his position as one of the 16 qualifiers for the World Matchplay with his run to the quarter-finals.

News Updates
Preliminary Round
Michael van Gerwen defeats Australia’s Russell Stewart 3-0 to move into last 128.
Larry Butler progresses with 3-1 win over Isaac Julian, while Jayson Barlow, Chris White and Bill Davis are other home hopes through to round one.
Canadian Dan Olson knocks out Ian Jopling, but Tony Eccles, Dave Honey, Stuart Holden and Matt Clark are British stars through to the first round.
American lady Brenda Roush defeated Marc Garcia 3-0 to set up first round meeting with Steve Randall.
Austrian Anton Pein sets up first round meeting with Alan Caves after defeating Steve Cusick 3-1.
First Round
Raymond van Barneveld is the first big name casualty of the event, losing in a deciding set to Germany’s Michael Rosenauer.
Phil Taylor defeats Kevin McDine 3-0 without dropping a leg, while James Wade, Colin Lloyd and Mervyn King are other early winners.
Adrian Lewis is defeated 3-2 by Dave Smith, with the Yorkshireman taking the deciding set 2-0 to progress.
Wayne Mardle overcomes Roger Carter in straight sets, while Co Stompe is another Dutchman out of the event, following a 3-1 loss to Steve Evans.
Roland Scholten moves into the last 64 with a 3-0 defeat of Dave Ansell.
Terry Jenkins avenges PDC US Open loss to Paul Lim with straight sets win.
Gary Mawson, the UK Open runner-up earlier in June, loses first round clash 3-2 to Robert Watson-Lang.
Mark Dudbridge edges out Stephen Panuncialman in five sets, with Colin Osborne also taken all the way in his opener by Alan Reynolds, who let a two-set lead slip.
David Fatum, a semi-finalist in May’s PDC US Open, sees off Mick McGowan in straight sets.
Second Round
Michael Rosenauer, who is missing Germany’s Euro 2008 final against Spain to compete at Mandalay Bay, progresses to the last 32, winning 3-0 against Robert Race.
Phil Taylor defeats Greg White to win his board and move into the last 32.
Tony Ayres overcomes Roland Scholten 3-1 to reach round three, with Terry Jenkins defeating Steve Evans by the same scoreline.
John Part is a 3-1 winner against Dan Zimmerman, while Mervyn King wins 3-1 against John Kuczynski.
Kevin Painter is taken to five sets by Scott Burnett, while James Wade wins in straight sets against Japan’s Taro Yachi.
Aaron Turner knocks out Colin Lloyd 3-2 to reach last 32, while Steve Grubb takes victory in board six final to earn a date with Ayres.
Lee Williams ends Jelle Klaasen’s hopes of qualifying for the World Matchplay through the Players Championship Order of Merit with a 3-1 win.
Mark Frost wins his board with a 3-2 win over Wes Newton, while Bill Davis sees off Alex Roy in a final-leg contest.
Third Round
Rosenauer’s run continues with a 3-1 win over Lee Williams.
Terry Jenkins moves into last 16 with 3-0 win over Adrian Gray – who is left sweating on his chances of a qualification for the World Matchplay,
Taylor sees off Steve Hine in straight sets to reach fourth round, while Michael van Gerwen is victorious against Wayne Mardle.
Kevin Painter sets up last 16 clash with Taylor with victory against Mark Dudbridge.
Steve Beaton knocks out World Champion John Part 3-1 to set up meeting with Ronnie Baxter, who saw off Mervyn King 3-0.
Bill Davis ends Jim Withers’ hopes and will face Michael van Gerwen.
Mark Frost cements his place in the World Matchplay qualifying places with win over Aaron Turner, and will meet Grubb in last 16, after his 3-0 win over Tony Ayres.
Dennis Priestley and Alan Tabern end the hopes of Barrie Bates and Dave Honey respectively.
Mark Walsh sneaks past Andy Hamilton 3-2 in a deciding leg and will play Priestley.
James Wade defeats Robert Watson-Lang in straight sets to reach last 16.
Colin Osborne wins through to last 16 with 3-1 defeat of Denis Ovens.
Fourth Round
Van Gerwen bursts into quarter-final with 3-1 win over American Bill Davis.
Mark Frost sees off Steve Grubb 3-1 to reach quarter-finals.
Ronnie Baxter is taken to five sets by Steve Beaton before winning quarter-final place in a deciding leg, where he will face Terry Jenkins, who defeated Peter Manley 3-0.
Phil Taylor holds off a spirited display from Kevin Painter to move into last eight, having still not dropped a set.
Mark Walsh came through a final-leg thriller against Dennis Priestley to join the quarter-finalists.
James Wade produced an 11-dart winning leg to defeat Alan Tabern 3-2, after being pegged back from 2-0 up.
Germany’s Michael Rosenauer reaches his first PDC Pro Tour quarter-final after 3-0 win over Colin Osborne.
Quarter-Finals
Ronnie Baxter takes out 121 in the deciding leg of his quarter-final with Terry Jenkins, who missed three darts for victory.
Phil Taylor came from a set down to defeat Michael van Gerwen, with the 13-time World Champion hitting a ten-darter – which included seven perfect darts for a second time in the game – to win the second set.
Mark Walsh defeats James Wade 3-1 to set up a semi-final with Taylor.
Michael Rosenauer’s brilliant day continued with a final-set win over Mark Frost, who twice came from a set down to level before the German won the decider 2-0.
Semi-Finals
Ronnie Baxter ends Michael Rosenauer’s run with a 3-0 semi-final defeat – the German missing out on a place in the World Matchplay by one match after reaching his first PDC semi-final.
Phil Taylor remains on course for a ninth PDC Pro Tour win of the year following a 3-1 win over Mark Walsh, who took the third set to pull back to 2-1 before the world number one booked his place in the decider.

Las Vegas Players Championship
Preliminary Round
Jayson Barlow 3-0 Dan Lauby
Larry Butler 3-1 Isaac Julian
Anton Pein 3-1 Steve Cusick
Jerry Hull 3-2 Steve Hills
Rocco Maes 3-0 Ben Hendon
Matt Clark 3-0 Joseph Swick
Brenda Roush 3-0 Marc Garcia
Chris White 3-0 Kenji Mayama
Danny Pinhorne 3-0 David Wilderman
Mark Carter 3-1 Terry Stewart
John Kuczynski Bye (John Murray)
Dan Olsen 3-1 Ian Jopling
Shawn Brenneman 3-0 John Dawes
Bill Davis 3-0 Joe Slivan
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Russell Stewart
Tony Eccles 3-0 Eddie Lawrence
Peter Walford 3-0 Pat Breithaupt
Stuart Holden 3-0 John Rutherford
Alan Matthews 3-0 Karl Loiseau
Dave Honey 3-0 Brian Jones

First Round
Michael Rosenauer 3-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Robert Race Bye (Victor DeWilde)
Jelle Klaasen 3-1 Tom Wilson
Lee Williams 3-1 Jayson Barlow
Colin Osborne 3-2 Alan Reynolds
Larry Butler 3-1 Gary Blades
Denis Ovens 3-2 Dennis Smith
Alan Caves 3-2 Anton Pein
Roland Scholten 3-0 Dave Ansell
Tony Ayres 3-1 Gerry Convery
David Fatum 3-0 Mick McGowan
Steve Grubb 3-1 Jerry Hull
Colin Lloyd 3-1 Peter Wright
Aaron Turner 3-1 Ben Burton
Wes Newton 3-1 Frederick Krueger
Mark Frost 3-2 Rocco Maes
Terry Jenkins 3-0 Paul Lim
Steve Evans 3-1 Co Stompe
Adrian Gray 3-0 Tomokazu Onoda
Matt Clark Bye (Dave Cameron)
Peter Manley 3-0 Darren Moulsley
Brenda Roush 3-0 Steve Randall
Scott Kirchner 3-0 Kirk Shepherd
Chris White 3-1 Ken MacNeil
John Part Bye (Brian Cyr)
Dan Zimmerman 3-1 Robert Heckman
Steve Beaton 3-0 Kevin Dowling
Richie Burnett 3-2 Danny Pinhorne
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Scott Cummings
Sean Palfrey 3-0 Mark Carter
Mervyn King 3-0 Donnie Strode
John Kuczynski 3-1 Isen Veljic
Phil Taylor 3-0 Kevin McDine
Greg Lewis 3-0 Joseph Bodrogi
Steve Hine 3-0 Alan Warriner-Little
Wayne Atwood 3-0 Dan Olson
Kevin Painter 3-0 Gordon Dixon
Scott Burnett 3-0 Bobby Peters
Mark Dudbridge 3-2 Stephen Panuncialman
Simon Whatley 3-0 Shawn Brenneman
Dave Smith 3-2 Adrian Lewis
Jim Withers 3-2 Robbie Newland
Alex Roy 3-0 Pete Riehl
Bill Davis 3-0 Danny King
Wayne Mardle 3-0 Roger Carter
John Quantock 3-2 Robert Thornton
Gary Broomhead 3-0 Andy Smith
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Andy Relf
Andy Hamilton 3-2 Darin Young
Lee Holden 3-2 Martin Burchell
Mark Walsh 3-0 Steve Smith
Tony Eccles 3-1 Paul Nicholson
Dennis Priestley 3-1 Dennis Sayre Jnr
Steve Maish 3-0 Mark Neilsen
Barrie Bates 3-0 Ron Peppers
John Ferrell 3-1 Peter Walford
James Wade 3-0 Ron Colvard
Taro Yachi 3-0 Mark Tiller
Robert Watson-Lang 3-2 Gary Mawson
Stuart Holden 3-0 Geoff Daniels
Alan Tabern 3-0 Nick Rivera
Alan Matthews 3-0 Andy Mason
Andy Jenkins 3-0 Steve Brown
Dave Honey 3-0 Joe Formica

Second Round
Michael Rosenauer 3-0 Robert Race
Lee Williams 3-1 Jelle Klaasen
Colin Osborne 3-0 Larry Butler
Denis Ovens 3-1 Alan Caves
Tony Ayres 3-1 Roland Scholten
Steve Grubb 3-0 David Fatum
Aaron Turner 3-2 Colin Lloyd
Mark Frost 3-2 Wes Newton
Terry Jenkins 3-1 Steve Evans
Adrian Gray 3-2 Matt Clark
Peter Manley 3-0 Brenda Roush
Chris White 3-1 Scott Kirchner
John Part 3-1 Dan Zimmerman
Steve Beaton 3-2 Richie Burnett
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Sean Palfrey
Mervyn King 3-1 John Kuczynski
Phil Taylor 3-0 Greg Lewis
Steve Hine 3-0 Wayne Atwood
Kevin Painter 3-2 Scott Burnett
Mark Dudbridge 3-1 Simon Whatley
Jim Withers 3-0 Dave Smith
Bill Davis 3-2 Alex Roy
Wayne Mardle 3-1 John Quantock
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Gary Broomhead
Andy Hamilton 3-0 Lee Holden
Mark Walsh 3-1 Tony Eccles
Dennis Priestley 3-0 Steve Maish
Barrie Bates 3-2 John Ferrell
James Wade 3-0 Taro Yachi
Robert Watson-Lang 3-2 Stuart Holden
Alan Tabern 3-2 Alan Matthews
Dave Honey 3-0 Andy Jenkins
Losers £75

Third Round
Michael Rosenauer 3-1 Lee Williams
Colin Osborne 3-1 Denis Ovens
Steve Grubb 3-0 Tony Ayres
Mark Frost 3-0 Aaron Turner
Terry Jenkins 3-0 Adrian Gray
Peter Manley 3-2 Chris White
Steve Beaton 3-1 John Part
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Mervyn King
Phil Taylor 3-0 Steve Hine
Kevin Painter 3-0 Mark Dudbridge
Bill Davis 3-2 Jim Withers
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Wayne Mardle
Mark Walsh 3-2 Andy Hamilton
Dennis Priestley 3-1 Barrie Bates
James Wade 3-0 Robert Watson-Lang
Alan Tabern 3-0 Dave Honey
Losers £150

Fourth Round
Michael Rosenauer 3-0 Colin Osborne
Mark Frost 3-1 Steve Grubb
Terry Jenkins 3-0 Peter Manley
Ronnie Baxter 3-2 Steve Beaton
Phil Taylor 3-0 Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Bill Davis
Mark Walsh 3-2 Dennis Priestley
James Wade 3-2 Alan Tabern
Losers £300

Quarter-Finals
Michael Rosenauer 3-2 Mark Frost
Ronnie Baxter 3-2 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 3-1 Michael van Gerwen
Mark Walsh 3-1 James Wade
Losers £600

Semi-Finals
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Michael Rosenauer
Phil Taylor 3-1 Mark Walsh
Losers £1,250

Final
Phil Taylor 3-1 Ronnie Baxter (2-1, 0-2, 2-0, 2-0)
Winner £5,000
Runner-Up £2,500

About The Author