PHIL TAYLOR and Raymond van Barneveld will contest the final of the StanJames.com World Matchplay on Sunday following resounding semi-final defeats of Simon Whitlock and James Wade in Blackpool.

Reigning champion Taylor remains on course for an 11th World Matchplay title following a 17-4 defeat of Whitlock in a repeat of the World Championship final the pair contested in January.

While the Australian had given Taylor a fright in that game, he was unable to match the relentless barrage of scoring and clinical finishing from the world number one on the Blackpool stage.

“Simon didn’t play as well as I expected him to but I could only concentrate on winning and I’ve done that well,” said Taylor.

“Winning this is everything for me and I think it’s the final people wanted, especially after Raymond hit that nine-darter last week. He’s played superbly to reach the final and it should be a brilliant game – maybe the best final ever in this event.

“I get excited about playing Barney and I love playing him. He could do a couple of nine-darters in the final and so could I, but he’s a different Barney since his break and it’s great to see.”

Van Barneveld cruised into the final at the Winter Gardens for the first time in four attempts with a 16-8 win over 2007 champion James Wade.

Van Barneveld checked out 44 percent of his chances at a double, including three ton-plus scores, and broke Wade’s throw on ten occasions to win through to face Taylor for the £100,000 title.

“I have a target to win every big PDC tournament and I’ve not won this so it would be massive to win the World Matchplay,” said van Barneveld.

“I still feel pressure, especially from being the number one in Holland and being number two to Phil Taylor but it would be amazing to beat him and win this.”

StanJames.com World Matchplay
Semi-Finals

Raymond van Barneveld 17-8 James Wade
Phil Taylor 17-4 Simon Whitlock

Final
7pm Sunday
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Best of 35 legs

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 17-8 JAMES WADE
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD won through to his first StanJames.com World Matchplay final with a 17-8 demolition of James Wade at the Winter Gardens on Saturday night.

World number two van Barneveld continued his dream return to form at the World Matchplay, having returned from a two-month lay-off with a nine-darter in the first round a week ago and swept aside Denis Ovens, Alan Tabern, Co Stompe and now Wade in Blackpool.

Another fine performance, where he hit 43 percent of his chances at a finish, including three ton-plus scores, and five maximums, blew the 2007 champion apart and saw him power into Sunday’s final, where he meets Phil Taylor or Simon Whitlock.

“I have a target to win every big PDC tournament and I’ve not won this so it would be massive to win the World Matchplay,” said van Barneveld.

“I still feel pressure, especially from being the number one in Holland and being number two to Phil Taylor but it would be amazing to beat him and win this.”

Wade had actually made the brighter start, winning three of the opening four legs to hold the early advantage, taking out 121 for a 12-darter as well as two double ten finishes, although van Barneveld had hit a 174 score in setting up double 18 to get off the mark.

The Dutchman landed a 180 in taking the first, and after Wade checked out 140 to take the sixth with another 12-darter he found another gear to reel off four sparkling legs.

They included one 14-dart finish, two 15-darters and a 136 checkout for a 12-darter in assuming a 6-4 lead.

Wade ended that run with a 14-darter, but three more legs from van Barneveld saw him move 10-6 up as he landed a brace of 13-darters and a 100 finish to take control of the game.

Wade won two of the next three, including a 145 checkout, but a thrilling ten-darter from van Barneveld moved him into an 11-7 advantage.

He then missed five darts to take the next leg, as Wade posted double ten to pull back to within three legs – but he was frustratingly left waiting on a finish without getting a chance as van Barneveld moved 14-8 up with another burst of three legs, including a 101 checkout.

Double nine and double top put him to the brink of victory, and though Wade landed scores of 171 and 170 in the next the Dutch star took out 91 for a 14-darter to ensure his first televised final since the World Grand Prix last October.

PHIL TAYLOR 17-4 SIMON WHITLOCK
PHIL TAYLOR powered past Simon Whitlock by dropping only four legs to remain on course for an 11th StanJames.com World Matchplay title with a 17-4 victory at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Taylor, the reigning champion in the £400,000 event, continued his charge towards another title with a thrilling win over the Australian.

Taylor won seven successive legs in moving 7-1 up, and though Whitlock cut the gap to 9-4 there was little he could do as the world number one reeled off another eight in a row to take victory.

Taylor averaged almost 104 and hit eight maximums as well as checking out 44 percent of his chances at a double to set up a tasty final against last week’s nine-dart hero Raymond van Barneveld.

“Simon didn’t play as well as I expected him to but I could only concentrate on winning and I’ve done that well,” said Taylor.

“Winning this is everything for me and I think it’s the final people wanted, especially after Raymond hit that nine-darter last week. He’s played superbly to reach the final and it should be a brilliant game – maybe the best final ever in this event.

“I get excited about playing Barney and I love playing him. He could do a couple of nine-darters in the final and so could I, but he’s a different Barney since his break and it’s great to see.”

Whitlock won the game’s opening leg, but Taylor levelled and then finished on double four for the next two legs in assuming a 3-1 cushion.

He then landed a 177 and double 16 for the fifth leg, and also won the next three in moving 7-1 up before Whitlock, courtesy of a 180 and double 16, finally managed to get a second chalk on the board.

Taylor posted a 180 and took out 76 for an eighth leg, before Whitlock punished a missed double 16 from his opponent to take out double 18 and pull back to 8-3.

Taylor fired in two 180s in an 11-darter to take the next – despite five 180s from Whitlock to begin the leg – before the Australian finished 126 on the bull to take his fourth of the game.

Double top moved Taylor 10-4 up, and when Whitlock wasted two opportunities he moved seven legs clear before finding another gear to land a 12-dart finish, another maximum and double 14 and then double top for a 14-4 advantage.

He edged a scrappy 19th leg on double one before a miss at tops from Whitlock allowed him in for a 16-4 lead, before clinically closing out the win on double four after an eighth maximum.

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