Darts: PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic - Taylor Takes Title
PHIL TAYLOR defeated Raymond van Barneveld 13-11 to win the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic for a fifth time.
Taylor followed up last month^s UK Open victory with the £30,000 triumph at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, producing some stunning darts to take the title.
Having defeated Jamie Caven, Dennis Priestley and Gary Anderson earlier in the event, he blasted past John Part 11-1 in the semi-finals, before seeing off van Barneveld in a classic final.
Van Barneveld came from 3-0 down to lead 4-3, and also held a 7-6 advantage before Taylor found an extra gear to pull away for victory.
"I^m delighted," said Taylor. "It was a fantastic game to be involved in and a great final.
"Raymond raised his game and there were times during the early stages when I wasn^t even getting a chance at a double.
"But I hung in there and eventually I broke his spirit I think."
Van Barneveld certainly showed great resolve in the early exchanges, despite a ferocious start from Taylor.
The defending champion kicked off the game with a 13-darter and immediately broke van Barneveld^s throw on double 16.
The pair traded 180s in the third leg, but van Barneveld missed two chances to break back as Taylor posted double four for a 3-0 cushion.
Van Barneveld hit back superbly, posting a pair of bullseye finishes to take back-to-back 12 dart finishes, and then fired in three 180s in a pair of 11-darters to take the lead.
He extended the run to five successive legs with double two, before Taylor hit back with a treble of his own.
He followed a 13-darter with two more legs, punishing missed doubles in both to take a 6-5 cushion.
The lead changed hands once more as the Dutch star landed double 18 for a 13-darter and then a 106 finish to go 7-6 up.
Crucially, Taylor denied van Barneveld the chance to move two legs clear with a break of throw to level, and then took out 109 to edge back in front.
Legs of 14, 13 and 14 darts saw Taylor push out to 11-7 before van Barneveld battled back, hitting a 124 finish and a 12-darter in taking three successive legs.
Taylor took out an 11-darter to move a leg away from the win, with double 16 from van Barneveld giving him an 11th leg but only delaying the world number one, who took out 104 in the next leg for the title.
"Phil is the best player in the world and he keeps on proving that," said van Barneveld. "I^m disappointed to lose but I^ll be back, I promise you!"
The Dutchman had earlier overcome James Wade 11-6 in the semi-finals, averaging over 100 and taking out a 156 checkout in reaching a third Desert Classic final in four years.
PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic VIII
PHIL TAYLOR mercilessly slayed John Part 11-1 to storm into the final of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.
Taylor remained on course for a fifth Desert Classic title with a simply sensational performance, restricting Part to just three attempts at a double in the match.
He kicked off the game with successive 180s, and though a potential nine-darter was missed he took the leg in ten as an early statement of intent.
Part took the second with a 117 checkout, only for Taylor to open the next with a 177, and took a 2-1 lead in 13 darts.
He then landed two 180s to begin leg four, taking out double top to break throw and move clear.
Part missed tops to break back, with double ten giving Taylor a crucial 4-1 cushion at the first break.
He hit a 14-darter to win leg six, and then traded maximums with Part in taking an 11-darter to lead 6-1.
Taylor set up a possible nine-darter once again in the eighth leg, hitting back-to-back 180s only to miss the eighth dart of the combination for a second time in the game - settling instead for another 11-dart finish.
Double ten and double top moves Taylor 9-1 ahead, and he hit an eighth maximum of the contest in going a leg away from victory.
He opened the next leg with scores of 140 and 180 to push clear, and took out double 16 for a 13-darter and victory with a final average of almost 108.
"I^m ecstatic to be in the final," said Taylor. "It was hard because John didn^t play as well as he can and as he did earlier in the tournament, and I took advantage."
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD won a place in the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic final with an 11-6 win over James Wade.
The Dutchman avenged his defeat to Wade in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts semi-finals recently with another classy display to remain on course for a second Desert Classic win.
Although Wade led 2-1 early on, van Barneveld did the damage by winning eight of the next nine legs to power clear.
He landed a 12-darter in the fourth leg and then took out 156 to win the first break of throw and a 3-2 lead.
He also hit 180s in the next two legs, including an 11-darter to break throw, before taking out double 16 to win a fifth successive leg.
Wade replied with an 11-darter, a 171 in the next set up double 16 for van Barneveld to go 7-3 up, and he followed up a 12-darter by punishing a missed double top from the world number two to move further clear.
Wade landed double ten and double eight to reduce the arrears, before van Barneveld once again landed double 16, moving himself a leg away from the win.
Double six kept Wade in the game, but three ton-plus scores pulled van Barneveld away before he took out double 16 for victory.
"I^ve been relaxed this week and the tournament has gone well so far," said van Barneveld, who meets Taylor in the final.
"The standard is great in every event now and it^s up to me to be good enough.
"I was depressed by not making the Premier League final but I have to start believing in myself again and I believe I can go all the way in this.