RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD was once again the headline story at the TABtouch Perth Darts Masters after needing a deciding 19th leg to beat Phil Taylor and progress to Sunday's semi-finals.
A scintillating night at the HBF stadium also saw Daryl Gurney produce yet another incredible finishing display to beat Peter Wright 10-4.
Gary Anderson and James Wade also progressed in to the last four in Perth, both averaging over 100 on their way to wins over Simon Whitlock and Michael Smith.
The match of the night saw Van Barneveld start the brighter of the two taking a 2-0 lead and then missing three darts to move further ahead of Taylor.
An 11-dart hold followed for Van Barneveld as he moved 3-1 ahead, before Taylor levelled the match two legs later after the Dutchman missed another three darts to stay ahead.
Van Barneveld then took out 71 on tops to break the throw yet again before Taylor repaid the favour, taking out 96 on double nine to level the score once again.
50-year-old Van Barneveld had looked the better of the pair despite the scoreline and put together a sequence of four straight legs to put daylight between himself and his opponent.
Taylor stopped the rot by holding throw in the 13th leg of the match by pinning double 18 and then recovered one the breaks of throw with a 41 checkout.
The 16-time World Champion closed the gap to one in the next leg, hitting a 180 before taking out 16 on double eight.
The Dutchman then moved to within a leg of the match by taking out nine of double four.
The seventeenth leg saw Van Barneveld miss four match darts as Taylor went to within one leg before breaking throw to take the match to a decider.
With Taylor on throw it looked as if it would be him who claimed the space in the TABtouch Perth Darts Masters semi-finals but consecutive scores of 60,60 and 45 from ‘The Power’ allowed Van Barneveld to claim his spot in the last four after a thrilling encounter.
“I can’t do things the easy way at the moment,” joked Van Barneveld after the match.
“It’s always nice to beat Phil, he is the greatest player of all time but I could have made that much simpler for myself,
“I struggled with the crowd who were on his side but that isn’t an excuse and I’m just happy to make it though to the semi -finals,” declared the Dutchman.
Van Barneveld will face Daryl Gurney after the 31-year-old only missed four shots at a double during his 10-4 victory over Peter Wright, to add to the 100% record he achieved the night before.
The U.S. Darts Masters runner-up came flying out of the blocks taking a 3-0 lead over an out of sorts Wright, including a 97 checkout in the third leg.
Wright then began a comeback with a 12-dart break, taking out 121 on the bullseye to claim his first leg of the match.
A superb ten-dart hold and a 12-dart break brought Wright back in to contention and level the score at 3-3.
With the Scot seemingly in control of the game Gurney then broke again with a two-dart 96 finish to open up a 4-3 advantage.
With the score at 5-4 in Gurney’s favour the Northern Irishman produced an incredible streak of finishing to win the next five legs to seal the win.
The run included finishes of 97, 32, 93, 104 and 87 on the bullseye, as well 16 on double eight to confirm his spot in the semi-finals.
"The finishing was brilliant again today, my scoring wasn't as good as it normally is but if I finish like that I'll take some stopping," Said Gurney.
'Superchin' who has hit 80% of his attempts at doubles during the tournament also added, "I didn't quite get the practice I would have liked today, so to go out and play like that is really pleasing,
"Peter is one of the best in the world so that is a massive win for me."
Fourth seed, James Wade booked his place in the semi-finals with a 10-5 win over Michael Smith.
Wade averaged 101.05 and hit five 180’s on his way to the win over his fellow Englishman.
The game began with both players hitting maximums in the opening leg before Wade found double ten to hold throw and take the lead.
A break of throw followed for ‘The Machine’ as he pinned a 140 checkout to double his advantage in the first game of the evening at the HBF Stadium.
180’s for both allowed the pair to hold throw taking the score to 3-1 in Wade’s favour.
Another ton-plus finish from Wade, this time a 110 on tops followed as he opened up a three leg lead.
The seventh leg saw Smith miss three darts to break back allowing Wade to move 5-2 clear, before a 12-dart leg including a 126 finish closed the gap to two.
Two finishes on tops allowed Wade to break throw again, this time opening up a four leg advantage and a 7-3 lead.
The quality continued in the next leg with Smith recovering one of the breaks of throw, hitting a 180 followed by a 121 finish on the bullseye.
A 65 finish on tops saw Wade regain the four leg lead, but then missed seven darts at a double in the next leg, allowing Smith to break the throw again taking the score to 8-5.
Wade then won the next two legs of the match, including a 96 checkout in the last to seal his passage in to Sunday’s semi-finals.
“It’s always hard playing a friend and Michael is certainly a friend. I have my critics and I know I bite sometimes when I shouldn’t but it is nice to answer them every now and again,” said Wade.
“I know how good I am and I know what I do wrong at times. There’s only a handful of players who have won what I’ve won but there are players more dedicated than others these days. If I was the most dedicated player, would I be the best in the World? Possibly,” Concluded the 34-year-old.
Wade will now face Gary Anderson in the semi-finals in Perth after the Scot averaged 102 in his 10-5 win over Simon Whitlock.
Anderson started the match with a break of throw, despite the Australian hitting a maximum with his opening three darts of the match.
Two breaks of throw followed with Whitlock taking out 115 on double ten before Anderson took the lead again with an 80 checkout to round-off a 12 dart leg.
After two holds of throw, three further breaks followed, meaning the pair had lost their throw three times each in the opening eight legs of the match.
Whitlock then took the lead of the first time in the match, taking out 25 on double eight for a 5-4 advantage.
The turning point in the match came in the tenth leg, where with Whitlock sat on 56, Anderson took out 110 to level the score and begin a run of six consecutive legs.
The former World Champion sealed the win with a stunning 144 checkout but sited the tenth leg as the big moment in the match.
“That 110 checkout on double 15 was huge, it’s not a double you want to leave but with the way Simon was playing I needed to hit it,” offered Anderson.
“Simon has been playing well recently so that worked as a good kick in the backside for me and hopefully sets me up nicely for tomorrow,” added the 46-year-old.
The 2017 TABtouch Perth Darts Masters concludes on Sunday with the semi-finals and final being played out in front of another packed out crowd at the HBF Stadium.
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Coverage in the UK on ITV4 and on RTL7 in the Netherlands is delayed.
TABtouch Perth Darts Masters
Saturday August 26 (7pm local time, 12pm BST)
James Wade (4) 10-5 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson (1) 10-5 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 10-9 Phil Taylor (2)
Daryl Gurney 10-4 Peter Wright (3)
Best of 19 legs
Sunday August 27 (5pm local time, 10am BST)
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld v Daryl Gurney