PETER WRIGHT made an incredible comeback from 14-8 down to reach the bwin Grand Slam of Darts final with a deciding-leg 16-15 win over Gary Anderson in a Wolves Civic thriller.
The UK Open champion had looked set to miss out on a first appearance in the Wolverhampton final when 2011 runner-up Anderson pulled clear from 7-6 to lead 14-8.
However, Wright changed darts before clawing his way back into the contest to finally level in leg 30 as Anderson missed one match dart, and then completed his comeback by taking out 64 for victory.
"I'm over the moon and I'll still be on a high for the final," said Wright. "It's my best win against Gary because being that far behind against a player of that calibre.
"It felt like a final for me because I class him as the second-best player in the world but I got over the line.
"I changed my darts halfway through because the other ones were not working. Deep down I believed that these darts can win me the tournament if I stick with them, and they still could."
Anderson punished two missed doubles from Wright to win the opening leg with a break of throw, and led 2-0 and 3-1 before an 11-darter created a 6-3 cushion.
Wright responded and landed a brilliant ten-darter as he reduced the gap to one leg at 7-6, only for Anderson to land a trio of double eight finishes to edge away before taking out 110, 86 and 119 as he created a 13-7 cushion.
The next two were shared as Anderson retained a six-leg lead at 14-8, only for Wright to take five successive legs, including an 84 finish on the bull, to pull back to trail by just one leg.
A miss at tops to level in leg 28 allowed Anderson back in one double five as he moved to the brink of victory at 15-13, but Wright followed an 11-darter by punishing his rival's one missed match dart - at double seven - to force a decider with a second successive 81 finish.
Anderson kicked off the 31st leg with a 180 and left 82 following 12 darts, but Wright clinically closed out victory by finishing 64 to progress to the final.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen secured his place in the final for a third successive year by continuing his title defence with a superb 16-8 win over Phil Taylor.
Six-time champion Taylor was aiming to claim a farewell title in Wolverhampton, but saw his hopes ended as Van Gerwen averaged almost 107 and finished 50 percent of his chances at a double in a clinical display.
Taylor held an early advantage with finishes of 68 and 60, but Van Gerwen took out 117 and 106 before coming from 3-2 down to win four successive legs as he took a 6-3 lead.
Taylor cut the gap to one leg before Van Gerwen piled home a 164 checkout on his way to a 9-5 lead, while the Dutchman's 96 checkout was bettered by a 97 combination from the 57-year-old as he pulled back to 10-7.
Van Gerwen restored a four-leg lead with a 71 checkout, and after Taylor hit back with a 13-darter the reigning champion produced two 74 finishes, a 63 checkout and double four to move 15-8 up before closing out the win on double 16.
"I think I played really well," said Van Gerwen. "To beat Phil Taylor is always nice and to get into the final is amazing.
"It's only a semi-final and I've not won anything yet. I don't like runner-up trophies but I still have to play well to beat Peter Wright.
"I feel confident and I believe in my ability. I still have to do it later on but my aim is to win it."