PHIL TAYLOR survived an almighty scare from Dutch wonderkid Michael van Gerwen before sneaking to a 3-2 win at the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship.

Teenage star van Gerwen came from a set down to lead 2-1 against the 13-time World Champion, and also had a dart for victory in the fourth set.

He was unable to land double 12, allowing Taylor to save the match and then seal the win in a tie-break.

“I was nervous but I never thought I would lose,” said Taylor, who maintained his record of never having lost in the first round of a World Championship.

“I didn’t even realise he had the shot at double 12 to win it, that’s how much I was concentrating because maybe I gave him too much respect and lost my concentration.”

Taylor will now face Mark Walsh on Saturday night in the second round as he continues his bid for a 14th World Championship title.

Tuesday’s three other round one fixtures followed the same lead as the Taylor-van Gerwen thriller by going to a tie-break in a deciding fifth set.

Roland Scholten opened the night with a win against Matt Clark before Peter Manley condemned another Dutch teenager, Toon Greebe, to defeat.

The final game of the evening saw German number two Michael Rosenauer come from two sets down to level against Mervyn King, only for the Englishman to prevail in the decider.

The tournament continues on Wednesday with two sessions, including the preliminary round game featuring Philippines’ Rizal Barellano and Barbados’ Anthony Forde battling for the right to meet current World Cahampion Raymond van Barneveld among six matches in the afternoon session.

2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship
Monday 17 December
First Round
Roland Scholten 3-2 Matt Clark
Peter Manley 3-2 Toon Greebe
Phil Taylor 3-2 Michael van Gerwen
Mervyn King 3-2 Michael Rosenauer

ROLAND SCHOLTEN 3-2 MATT CLARK
(3-2, 0-3, 3-2, 0-3, 4-2)

ROLAND SCHOLTEN came through an epic first round encounter against Matt Clark at the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC Darts World Championship.

Both players produced an excellent standard throughout the match, with all winning legs completed in 18 darts or less throughout five enthralling sets.

The Flying Dutchman took the opening two legs, but Clark hit back to take the next two before Scholten produced a superb 11-darter in the decoder to take the first set.

Clark then took charge of the contest, winning five consecutive legs with a combination of good finishing and Scholten failing to convert opportunities.

Scholten stopped the rot by taking the third leg of the third set, and then took the next after Clark failed to hit the bullseye for a 2-1 lead.

Scholten then converted an 86 checkout in the final leg of the set to give him a 2-1 advantage.

Once again, Clark hit back with 12, 15, and 12 dart finishes in succession to take the fourth set and take the game into a decider.

Scholten got of to a flyer and hit an 11-darter in the second leg to go one away from the match. He had two opportunities to win the match in the next, but missed both and Clark took advantage with a pressure 78 checkout.

Once again Scholten had a dart for the match in the fourth leg, but could not hit the bull and Clark stepped in to force the match into extra time.

But Scholten’s high scoring proved to be decisive and he took the next two legs to record victory.

PETER MANLEY 3-2 TOON GREEBE
(3-1, 2-3, 3-0, 0-3, 4-2)

PETER MANLEY held off the plucky challenge of Dutch teenager to edge his way into the second round of the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship.

Greebe, a 19-year-old making his debut on the World Championship stage, showed no nerves in taking the game to Manley and pushing the three-time finalist all the way.

Greebe landed a 180 in the opening leg, although Manley took out a 116 finish on his way to winning the first set 3-1.

Manley was pegged back in the second, with Greebe including a 94 finish on the bullseye in levelling the match in a deciding leg.

Manley lifted his game to win the third set without reply, with Greebe eventually paying the price for missed doubles in a crucial first leg.

Greebe landed his third maximum of the game in the fourth set’s opener, and stepped in to break Manley’s throw in the next before wrapping up the set in 14 darts to send the match into a decider.

Greebe actually led 2-1 in the fifth set – despite a 121 finish from Manley – to move to one leg from the win, only for Manley to scramble home double ten to stay in the match.

Double 12 saw Manley edge 3-2 up as the game entered a tie break, and four ton-plus scores proved too much in the next, setting up his favoured double top finish to seal victory.

“I had to dig really deep,” admitted Manley afterwards. “Toon played really well, it was his first time up there and I thought the pressure may get to him in the end, and it did.

“He hit 140, 140 and 180 with his first three visits to the board, which is superb in a World Championship, but he lost that first leg and the first set and that was crucial.

“He’s gradually improved this year and he showed that he deserved his place in the event.”

PHIL TAYLOR 3-2 MICHAEL VAN GERWEN
(3-0, 0-3, 2-3, 3-2, 5-3)

PHIL TAYLOR survived an almighty scare from Dutch wonderkid Michael van Gerwen before sneaking to a 3-2 win at the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship.

Teenage star van Gerwen came from a set down to lead 2-1 against the 13-time World Champion, and also had a dart for victory in the fourth set.

He was unable to land double 12, allowing Taylor to save the match and then seal the win in a tie-break.

Taylor kicked off the match with a 13-darter and took the first set without reply thanks to a 112 checkout.

Van Gerwen replied in kind to win the second, punishing sloppy finishing from Taylor to level matters.

A 109 checkout put Taylor ahead in the third before van Gerwen stepped in to square the set and then took out 106 to lead 2-1.

Taylor responded with a maximum in a 14-darter, only for van Gerwen to take out a crucial 82 on tops for a 2-1 lead in the match.

Van Gerwen levelled the fourth set at two-all to set up his chance for victory, only to narrowly miss double 12 for an 81 finish.

Taylor stepped in on double top to prevent his first ever round one loss in a World Championship and send the game into a decisive fifth set.

He led 2-1 before van Gerwen took back-to-back legs to edge himself ahead after Taylor missed the bullseye for victory in leg four.

Taylor found another gear with a superb 13-darter to level, landed double ten to edge 4-3 up and then produced a sensational winning leg; with scores of 177, 134 and 138 leaving him a 52 finish, and he made no mistake this time to book his place in the last 32.

“Maybe we gave each other too much respect early on, and once one player started playing the other did,” added Taylor.

“I never thought I’d lose – you don’t until the winning double is hit. I thought that if he went close he’d start getting nervous – I was hoping that anyway!

“I didn’t even realise he had the shot at double 12 to win it, that’s how much I was concentrating.

“I was a bit nervous. It’s the first round, a new venue, a massive opponent who I maybe gave too much respect and it’s a relief to get through.

“I was surprised to win the first so easily and maybe I lost my concentration. But I drew on my experience and I was hoping that the pressure would get to him, and in the end I think that missed double 12 did get to him.

“I’m really looking forward to the second round now. I’m glad this is out of the way and I can look ahead to that because Mark is playing really well.”

MERVYN KING 3-2 MICHAEL ROSENAUER
(3-2, 3-0, 0-3, 2-3, 5-3)

MERVYN KING overcame German qualifier Michael Rosenauer 3-2 in the first round of the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship.

King, making his debut in the PDC World Championship, took the opening two sets and set to cruise to victory before Rosenauer showed great character to come back and level the match, before the Englishman eventually prevailed in the decider.

King took a high quality first set 3-2, hitting two 13-dart legs, in response to a strong start from Rosenauer.

King doubled his advantage with the aid of a 101 checkout in second leg, ending the second set to raise his match average of 99.

But the German started to find some form and began his comeback, taking the third set comfortably, featuring a 12-darter in the third leg.

King missed three darts at double to secure the match when he was 2-1 up in the fourth set, and Rosenauer took his chance to level matters.

He then shook King taking an 81 finish in the set’s decider to square the match and set up another final-set finish.

King moved into a 2-0 advantage in the decider, but Rosenauer again came back to level the set with a second 116 checkout of the game and a 14 darter.

King replied with a 14-darter of his own to take a 3-2 lead and then had one dart at bull for the match, which he failed to convert and allowed Rosenauer to take out a clinical 62 finish and level again.

But King proved too strong and hit a 104 finish in the seventh leg before landing double four to take his place in the second round against Roland Scholten.

“I’m drained after that!” admitted King. “I made it longer than it should have been and didn’t close the game out when I should have.

“I didn’t score like I can do and struggled a bit, but I got there in the end and was grateful for that.

“It was just good enough today but I will need to be better in the next round.”

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