Grand Slam of Darts - Day Six, Report and Stastitics

PHIL TAYLOR continued his bid to win a sixth SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts title with a superb 10-4 comeback defeat of Peter Wright at the Wolves Civic, as Michael Smith, Mervyn King and Stephen Bunting joined him in the quarter-finals.

Taylor, the reigning champion in the 400,000 pound event, was at his clinical best to see off the World Championship finalist and set up a tasty quarter-final against emerging star Smith on Saturday.
Wright had led 2-1 and 3-2 after taking out a brilliant 129 finish which featured two double 18s, only for missed doubles later in the game to prove costly as Taylor took eight of the next nine legs on his way through to the last eight.
Taylor's run included two 11-dart legs and seven perfect darts of a possible nine-darter at one stage, and he ended with a 101.70 average and ten doubles from 18 attempts. Wright had out-scored the 16-time World Champion, including hitting four 180s to Taylor's three, but 11 missed doubles from 15 attempts in the game cost the world number four as he exited the Wolves Civic stage in defeat.
Taylor now takes on former World Youth Champion Smith in Saturday's quarter-finals after the youngster enhanced his growing reputation with a 10-5 comeback win over Christian Kist.

"Peter put me under a lot of pressure and he's hard to beat, so I was nervous," admitted Taylor. "The 129 was absolutely brilliant, but after that he started to miss and it let me in. It was a difficult game and I'm glad I'm through, but it won't be any easier in the quarter-finals. Michael's a great player and he played well tonight, and he's impressed me with the maturity he's shown. It should be a cracker and we're both up for it."

Smith had trailed 3-0 early on as former Lakeside Champion Kist finished 76 in the opening leg and then punished misses from the St Helens ace to take the next two legs.
Smith hit back to level, taking out a 99 finish with two double tops in the process, and though Kist took a slender 4-3 cushion, another three-leg burst - including a bullseye checkout on 90 - saw the 24-year-old surge clear at 6-4. Kist took out 68 to reply, but a 121 finish from Smith denied him the chance to level before the St Helens ace raced through the next three legs to win through to his first televised major quarter-final. Smith ended the game with ten doubles from 19 attempts - including his six misses in the opening three legs - and averaged just under 100 in an impressive performance.

"I didn't think I played that well and I didn't start well, but it's a great result for me," said Smith. "I struggled in the first three legs but I dug deep and got back into the game. I could have been 4-1 up but was 3-2 down because I missed a couple of easy checkouts, but I still got the win and that's all that matters. In the group stage if you have five bad legs then you're out of the match, but the longer distance is better for me. It's brilliant to be in the quarter-finals, but if I play as well as I can then I believe I can go even further."

Smith's mentor Gary Anderson missed out on the chance to join him in the last eight with a 10-4 defeat to Mervyn King, who punished 19 missed doubles from the Scot with a clinical display.
Although Anderson led 2-1 early on, King hit the front at 3-2 and pulled clear from three-all with five successive legs. The run included checkouts of 78 and 116 after Anderson had missed doubles as well as three 180s as he moved five legs clear of the former Premier League champion. Anderson landed a 177 and double five to pull back to 8-4, but missed further doubles - for ton-plus checkouts - in the next two legs as King secured his second Grand Slam of Darts quarter-final in eight years of the event.

"I'm very pleased with that and I'm feeling good," said King. "My scoring wasn't as good as normal but I've been finishing well this week, and that was the difference. I knew that Gary can sometimes miss a few doubles, and I practised really hard on finishing going into the game. If I start scoring like I want to, then who knows what can I happen. My averages haven't been great but they've been consistent and I'm doing enough to win matches at the moment and that's what happened again." King now plays Stephen Bunting in the last eight after the reigning Lakeside Champion enjoyed a superb 10-8 win over James Wade in a clash which saw the pair share eight ton-plus checkouts.
After Bunting finished 95 and 92 to take the early lead, Wade powered in a 170 checkout and then levelled with a 108 combination. Bunting finished 107 as he pushed out to 5-2 and added checkouts of 145 and 102 as he moved 7-4 up. Wade reduced the gap to 8-7 at one stage, and after Bunting fired in a 114 finish the left-hander took out 164 to pull back to 9-8. Bunting, though, landed his fifth 180 of the game to open the 18th leg, and denied Wade the chance to take the game into a decider by finishing double 16 for a 12-darter.

"James showed what a fantastic player he is so I'm glad to get the win in the end," said Bunting. There was some really good finishing, and James' 170 and 164 stand out but I had to take out the ton-plus finishes myself to get over the line there. You know when you're playing James on his own game that you've got to take those finishes out because he'll walk all over you, and it's a testament to him too because he dug in and took some great finishes out."

Ave180sDoublesPlayervPlayer Ave180sDoubles
99.97710/19Smith 10:5Kist89.1225/17
94.12610/18King 10:4Anderson96.3234/23
101.70310/18Taylor 10:4 Wright99.0544/15
98.24510/18Bunting 10:8Wade95.4538/11

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