TAYLOR AND CHISNALL SET UP SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM FINAL
PHIL TAYLOR will meet Dave Chisnall in the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts final on Sunday night after they enjoyed contrasting wins over Mervyn King and Kim Huybrechts in the semi-finals at the Wolves Civic.
Taylor followed up Saturday's quarter-final romp against Michael Smith with another big win as he saw off King 16-9 to remain on course to retain the title and pick up a sixth Grand Slam title in eight years of the event.
Chisnall, however, was pushed all the way in a classic semi-final against Kim Huybrechts before he prevailed 16-15 in a thriller.
Belgian ace Huybrechts had landed a nine-dart finish in his quarter-final win over Michael van Gerwen, and showed his class by coming from 4-1 and 8-6 down to lead 14-12, only for Chisnall to take four of the final five legs for victory.
Chisnall had started the better, trading 180s with the Belgian in the opening leg and taking three in a row from one-all to pull away, including a 13-darter and a break of throw to punish six missed doubles in leg four from Huybrechts.
Huybrechts replied with scores of 180, 140 and 165 as he took leg six to respond, and followed a 95 finish from Chisnall with a 78 checkout, a break of throw and double 16 to level at five-all.
After the next two leg were shared, Chisnall landed double eight to move 7-6 up and broke throw on double 16, only for Huybrechts to finish 99 and double 16 to level before a 109 finish put him ahead for the first time at 9-8.
However, the Belgian twice burst his score in a dramatic 18th leg, hitting double 12 instead of double five, as Chisnall levelled, but the tables were turned as Huybrechts regained the lead at 10-9 and then traded 180s with the St Helens man in moving two legs clear.
Chisnall again hit back to level with back-to-back legs, but missed doubles allowed Huybrechts to break for a 12-11 lead before he took out 92 to edge clear once more.
Chisnall's double ten cut the lead before Huybrechts produced a sparkling 12-darter to move 14-12 up - but Chisnall found another gear as the tension rose.
Checkouts of 101 and 110 saw him level before double 16 put the former World Grand Prix finalist 15-14 up - but he then wired the bull for a 161 checkout in the next as Huybrechts posted double eight to send the game into a deciding leg.
Chisnall's 180 in the final leg was followed by a maximum from Huybrechts, but the St Helens man was first to a finish before taking out 86 in two darts on double 16 to claim a remarkable win.
"I played some good darts and I really had to dig in," said Chisnall. "At 14-12 down I knew I could still pull it out and I'm so happy to get through to the final. I missed some costly doubles but I'm quite good with the combination shots and I showed that with the final shot. Kim played brilliantly too and it's a shame someone has to lose."
Huybrechts admitted: "I've got mixed emotions now. I played well but not as well as I did against Michael van Gerwen. I played a good game but Dave was the better player and deserved to win. I'm having a hard time in my life at the moment and I've got a lot on my mind but I'm proud to have reached the semis."
Taylor, meanwhile, powered past King 16-9 as he set up a fine against Chisnall - who he defeated in the 2013 World Grand Prix decider.
Taylor took charge of the match by taking out 61, 81 and double 16 to win the opening three legs, and after King finished 82 to get off the mark, Taylor finished 128 and 140 in moving out to 7-1 up.
King landed double four to win his second leg, but a miss at double 18 in the next allowed Taylor in for the first of three successive double 16 finishes, before he took out double 14 and tops to move 12-2 up.
Back-to-back legs for King reduced the gap to 12-4, and he also took out 90 to pull back to 13-5 before Taylor took out legs of 12 and 13 darts to move to the brink of victory.
A 119 finish for King sparked a run of four straight legs for King as he hit back to 15-9, but Taylor recovered from missing eight earlier match darts by finishing 68 on double 16 to seal his spot in the final.
"It could have been over earlier but I started getting involved with the crowd," admitted Taylor. "They were singing Tony O'Shea's walk-on song and creating a great atmosphere, but I got there in the end. I was too far in front, and not having any pressure actually put me under pressure, but I quite enjoyed the game."
Taylor had won 6-0 when he met Chisnall in the World Grand Prix final last year, but the Stoke great added: "It's going to be a tough final because Dave is playing well so I've got to put him under pressure and make him miss. I think Dave's going to play well because he's done well under pressure in the last two games against Keegan Brown and Kim Huybrechts to come from behind and win. I'm up against a good player."
MAGICAL TAYLOR SEALS SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM OF DARTS GLORY
PHIL TAYLOR claimed his sixth SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts title as his imperious week at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall peaked with a 16-13 win over gutsy Dave Chisnall in Sunday night's final.
Taylor has been at his clinical best throughout seven games in the £400,000 event, winning through the group stage unbeaten before seeing off Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Mervyn King on his way to the final.
There, he produced another superb performance as he denied resilient Chisnall a maiden major title, despite the St Helens man hitting back from 5-0 down to level a remarkable contest.
Chisnall had come from behind to defeat Keegan Brown and Kim Huybrechts in reaching the final, but after levelling at ten-all saw Taylor pull clear to take the 100,000 pound winner's cheque.
"I'm chuffed to bits," admitted Taylor. "It was very, very tough and Dave didn't give up - he showed that he's an incredible player. If he'd started off the game like he finished it then it would have been a different kettle of fish. I don't know what he did but he turned the tables, and the next thing I knew it was ten-each. In my mind I knew I was far ahead but Dave kept coming back at me. When it got to ten-each his confidence was sky high, but I didn't think he could keep doing it. He put me under so much pressure but I had to slow down, take a deep breath and I managed to get there in the end."
Taylor dedicated the triumph to his ill mother, who he was set to visit in hospital in Stoke later on Sunday night.
He said: "I'm going to take the trophy up to the hospital with me and leave it at my mum's bedside - she'll be asleep when I get there but it will be a nice surprise for her when she wakes up tomorrow. It's been very tough recently with her being in hospital, but this week's been a little bit of escapism. My mind goes blank for that two or three hours while I'm playing, and I've loved it."
Taylor won the final's opening five legs without Chisnall having a dart at a double, landing three 180s and a trio of double 16 finishes in the process.
Chisnall finished 80 and 110 to hit back, and after a 105 finish gave Taylor a sixth leg, the st Helens man took out double 19 to pull back to 6-3.
Taylor replied on double 19 and then posted double ten to give himself breathing space and, after Chisnall took out 70, his trusted double 16 moved the reigning champion into a 9-4 lead.
Chisnall, though, produced his best darts of the game as he hit back with five successive legs, firstly landing double 18, a 141 finish and a 14-darter before punishing missed doubles from Taylor in back-to-back legs to level at nine-all.
Taylor responded to a 180 from Chisnall with a 174 before landing tops to regain the lead, with Chisnall adding another maximum as he levelled at ten-all only to see the Stoke great find an extra gear.
Taylor moved back ahead with a clinical 96 finish, broke throw with a 13-darter and finished tops, 70 and 65 to move to the brink of victory at 15-10.
Chisnall's fighting spirit continued as he won three straight legs to pull back to 15-13 - with Taylor missing two match darts in one leg - but when he was unable to finish 128 in the next, Taylor pounced to seal glory on double ten.
Chisnall conceded: "I'm happy with my performance over the last week but the final got away from me at the beginning. You can't give Phil Taylor a 5-0 lead, and even though I've been further behind this week Phil was too good in the end. When I got to ten-all I thought I could take the win, but I missed a double to pull back to 12-11 and when it got to 15-10 it was a struggle. It was never over until he hit the final double and I kept fighting hard, but the better man won."