WAYNE MARDLE denied Phil Taylor a 15th successive Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship with a sensational 5-4 quarter-final win at Alexandra Palace on Saturday night.

In an incredible day of last eight action, Taylor saw Mardle come from three sets down to level their game, and then take victory in an enthralling decider.

The first eight legs of the ninth set went with the throw as tensions reached boiling point, with Mardle securing a crucial break of throw before sealing his first ever televised win over the 13-time World Champion.

“It’s the best win of my career,” said Mardle. “It’s not my best performance, but it’s my best win.

“He hasn’t been at his best in this tournament but it took a great game from me to beat him.”

Taylor admitted: “My energy level dropped towards the end but Wayne’s didn’t and if he keeps his head on he has the biggest chance of his life to win this tournament.”

Mardle now faces 21-year-old qualifier in the semi-finals on Sunday, following the Kent youngster’s brilliant 4-3 win over Peter Manley.

Double World Champion John Part also won a nine-set thriller, edging out world number three James Wade to reach the semi-finals for the first time since he claimed the title in 2003.

Part will meet Kevin Painter in the other semi, with the 2004 runner-up following his victory over defending champion Raymond van Barneveld with a 5-2 victory against Adrian Lewis.

2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship
Quarter-Finals
Peter Manley 4-5 Kirk Shepherd
John Part 5-4 James Wade
Phil Taylor 4-5 Wayne Mardle
Kevin Painter 5-2 Adrian Lewis

Semi-Finals (7pm Sunday)
Kevin Painter v John Part
Wayne Mardle v Kirk Shepherd
Best of 11 sets

WAYNE MARDLE ended Phil Taylor’s Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship reign with a stunning 5-4 quarter-final victory at Alexandra Palace on Saturday night.

Taylor was denied a 14th successive PDC final in amazing circumstances, with Mardle coming from 3-0 down to take the game into a decider.

The first eight legs of the ninth set went with the throw as tensions reached boiling point, with Mardle securing a crucial break of throw before sealing his first ever televised win over Taylor.

He looked set to pay for a slow start, with Taylor taking nine of the first ten legs – including an 11-darter – in taking a three-set lead.

Mardle seemed sparked by a 100 finish to open the fourth set, and followed that with legs of 11 and 15 darts to get off the mark.

He won the fifth set 3-1 and then edged a tense sixth 3-2, with Taylor sat on tops in the decider when Mardle levelled matters.

It was Taylor who sneaked to the seventh set thanks to a 13-darter and a 66 finish in the fifth leg with Mardle waiting on 110.

Taylor broke the throw to lead in the next, but was punished for his misses as Mardle twice broke back in taking the set 3-1 to square the contest once more.

Mardle also had the better in the early stages of set nine, but missed three darts at doubles to break Taylor twice as both players narrowly held their throw.

A 180 from Mardle to kick off leg nine, his eighth of the contest, proved crucial as he pulled clear to break the throw on double top.

He then landed three ton-plus scores in the next to seal the win with a 13-darter on his favourite double 18.

“It’s the best win of my career,” said Mardle. “It’s not my best performance, but it’s my best win.

“He hasn’t been at his best in this tournament but it took a great game from me to beat him.

“I’ve never beaten him on TV but I felt fantastically good.

“When it went 3-3 in the final set, I think I’d had darts to win every one of his legs, and he never got to a double on my throw. I thought to keep that going and I’ve never had that confidence against Phil before – the more he kept missing doubles, the more confident I got.

“I’ve just beaten the best player in the world, ever, and I stuck in there and did a great job where others have faltered.

“I nearly did but I proved I had guts, like I proved against Roland Scholten and Ray Carver, and I know that I can win this championship.

“It meant the world to me at the end of the game when he said to me that I have a massive chance to win this now and to go and do it, and that shows his class.

“I’d just beaten him and he had the professionalism to say that to me. I respect him so much and it got me choked up.”

Mardle admitted that he adopted a fresh attitude in the game and, despite losing nine of the opening ten legs, never lost faith in his ability.

“When I was 3-0 down, everyone’s head was dropping apart from mine,” he said. “I had a mindset that didn’t for the first three sets but the longer the game went on it did.

“I treated the game like it was nothing, and when I relax I’m dangerous.

“It’s easy to say it means nothing when it means everything, and when people have said it to me in the past I’ve said you can’t do it, but you can and I proved that tonight.”

Taylor has reached the final of the PDC World Championship in every previous year since the tournament’s inception in 1994.

“Wayne played brilliantly,” said Taylor. “He stuck in well, even when I thought it would be 5-0, but he pegged me back and his last few legs were brilliant.

“My energy level dropped towards the end but Wayne’s didn’t and if he keeps his head on he has the biggest chance of his life to win this tournament.”

KEVIN PAINTER 5-2 ADRIAN LEWIS
(3-0, 2-3, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0, 3-1, 3-2)

KEVIN PAINTER followed up his stunning victory over Raymond van Barneveld to defeat Adrian Lewis 5-2 in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship.

Neither player could find their best form, but it was Painter who did enough to reach the semi-finals and set up a clash against Canadian John Part.

Painter broke Lewis’ throw at the beginning of the match with a clinical 100 checkout, and then went on to win the set without reply from his opponent.

Lewis opened up a 2-0 advantage in the second, but Painter took the next two legs to level.

Painter then had three darts to take the set, but he failed to take the chances and Lewis landed double six to make it one-each.

Painter regained the lead, taking the third set comfortably. He hit a 68 checkout in the first leg, and wrapped up the set with a 116 finish.

Painter won the first leg of the fourth set, but Lewis claimed the next three legs to level the match once more.

Painter, the 2004 World Championship runner-up, was dominant in the fifth set, breaking throw in the second leg and then hitting a 120 finish to in the third, to win the set and take the lead for the third time in the match.

Painter took the opening two legs of the sixth set, but missed three opportunities at double eight to win the set in third, and Lewis hit double ten to pinch it.

But Painter made no mistake in the next leg and landed a 58 checkout to take a 4-2 lead, after his opponent had two darts to keep the set going.

Lewis hit back to break throw at the start of the seventh set, and then took the second leg to double his advantage.

Painter managed to take the third leg, and then levelled-up after Lewis missed three darts at double eight to win the set.

Both players felt pressure in the final leg of set. Painter missed two darts at tops to win the match, but Lewis failed to pounce on his opponent’s errors and Painter came back to land double ten to complete victory.

“I’m obviously delighted to be through but not happy with the performance,” said Painter.

“We were both waiting for each other to spark and I was playing one great leg and following it with an awful leg.

“But I had some good finishes and I will be much better than that against John Part.

“After winning against Raymond last night I was on a bit of a high and didn’t sleep too well, but I will sleep well after this and be ready for John.”

KIRK SHEPHERD 5-4 PETER MANLEY
(3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1, 4-2)

KIRK SHEPHERD produced a sensational performance to knock Peter Manley out of the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship in a nine-set thriller.

The youngster was 4-3 down and faced darts for the match in the third leg of the deciding set, but came through to reach the semi-finals at his first attempt.

Shepherd showed no nerves at the start of the match, taking the first set without reply in a superb start.

He then had a dart for a 2-0 lead, but missed double 16 for 102 finish in the deciding leg and a relieved Manley landed double ten to level.

The number five seed broke throw at the start of the third set with a 13-dart finish to lead for the first time in the match, but Shepherd immediately hit back with a 13-dart leg of his own.

Shepherd took a 2-1 lead, and then had four darts at double top to take the set in the next leg, but failed to convert and Manley levelled, hitting double ten.

He also gave Manley a chance to steal the next before returning to land double 16 and regain the lead.

The fourth set also went to a deciding leg but Manley was clinical and landed a 15-dart finish to level again.

Manley then took a 3-2 lead with some superb checkouts, which included a 156 finish in the first leg followed by checkouts of 76, and 60 to win the set.

Shepherd broke throw at the beginning of the sixth set after Manley had missed opportunities to take it, and then doubled his lead with a 104 finish.

Manley took the third leg with a fantastic 11-dart finish, but Shepherd hit double 16 to take the set.

The Carlisle-based star then took a 4-3 lead, breaking Shepherd’s throw in the deciding leg to go one set away from victory.

But Shepherd showed great character to take the eighth set, breaking throw in the first leg and hitting an 11-dart finish in the second.

Manley took the next leg, but Shepherd hit a 70 finish to take the game to a deciding set.

Manley took the opening two legs of the deciding set, and then had two darts to win the match in the third leg, but failed to take them and Shepherd landed a pressure double four with his last dart to remain in the contest.

Shepherd then took the fourth leg and hit his ninth maximum of the contest at the start of the fifth leg as he moved in front.

Shepherd was then on a nine-dart finish in the sixth leg, hitting two 180s but missing the seventh treble 20.

He returned to land double five to stun Manley and win an amazing match.

“It’s a dream come true, I can’t believe it,” said Shepherd. “If someone had said to me at the start of the competition that I’d reach the semi-finals I’d have settled for that – but I’m not finished yet.

“I’m on a roll and I want to keep going.”

Jenkins and McGowan both had darts to defeat Shepherd, and Manley wasted two match darts, but Shepherd added: “At the end of the day, it’s not my fault if they don’t hit their doubles and I take my chances.

“It’s a lot about confidence and luckily I have a lot of confidence and I held my nerve. In the last set I got my chance and really went for it.

“I wasn’t thinking about the nine-dart finish, I was just concentrating on getting to the double and hitting it. Luckily enough I did.”

JOHN PART 5-4 JAMES WADE
(3-2, 3-0, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, 1-3, 3-1, 0-3, 4-2)

TWO-TIME World Champion John Part won another thrilling final-set quarter-final at Alexandra Palace to defeat world number three James Wade.

Part led 2-0 and 3-1 before coming through in the deciding set to reach the semi-finals for the first time since he won the event in 2003.

Both players had a chance to win a competitive opening set, but the Canadian landed double top to take the lead.

Part took a 2-0 lead in the second set, Wade missing a number of doubles to win both legs.

He then held throw to double his advantage, hitting his third maximum of the game.

Wade started to get into the match and took the third set with a fantastic 141 checkout to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Part broke throw at the start of the fourth set with a 127 finish, but Wade hit back immediately with a 148 checkout.

Part broke Wade’s throw again with a 16 darter, and then took the set in the next leg to regain his two-set lead.

But Wade, the winner of the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix this year, came back to take the next two sets and level matters.

He took the fifth set in a deciding leg, which included checkouts of 68, 101, and 70, and then took the sixth with a 106 checkout in the fourth leg to break throw and level the game.

The opening two legs of the seventh set where shared before Part then hit double nine to take a 2-1 lead.

The Canadian then won the set in the next leg, hitting a 60 finish to regain his advantage, after Wade missed a dart at double 12 for a 104 finish.

Part missed a number of opportunities in the eighth set, and Wade made the Canadian pay for his mistakes to take a second quarter-final of the day to a deciding set.

Wade then took the lead for the first time in the match, when he hit a clinical two dart 97 finish to take the first leg of the final set.

Part came back to lead 2-1, but Wade produced a fantastic 11-darter under pressure to take the set into a tie-break situation.

Part took a 3-2 lead, by landing double 16, and then hit a vital 113 checkout to win the match, with his opponent waiting on 20.

“Maybe James wasn’t at his best but he’s a class player and I feel very fortunate to get into the semis,” said Part.

“I knew if I kept hitting the 97s and 96s that I’d be in with a shot.

“There were a few missed chances but my mind’s racing on everything before it was four-all – you have to play from there.

“I was ahead a couple of times and he came back really well but the final set was very satisfying.

“James is as good a player as you can play on stage. He’s lethal and if you give him a chance he will exploit it, most of the time he caught me up when I made a mistake.

“He’s won major titles already and I’ve no doubt whatsoever that he’s got it in him to win World Championships.”

Wade admitted: “I tried as hard as I could but John was better than me on the day. It’s disappointing and I’m annoyed with myself.”

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