Taylor powers to 16th title
Phil Taylor produced some of the finest darts of his stellar career to clinch his 16th world title with victory over Michael van Gerwen in a high-quality Ladbroke World Darts Championship final at Alexandra Palace.
'The Power' battled back from 2-0 and 4-2 down to prevail 7-4 against the hugely talented 23-year-old, who had triumphed in their two previous meetings but came unstuck as his inexperience in world finals told.
"I'm probably the proudest man in the world," Taylor told Sky Sports 1. "I've got to give Michael everything. He's phenomenal that kid and I honestly didn't think I was going to win."
Van Gerwen was required to hold his nerve with a 140 checkout to seal the opening set, with Taylor down into double figures and applying the pressure and the first break of the contest came in the third leg of the second set, Van Gerwen applying an 11-dart finish before holding for a two-sets-to-nil lead.
Taylor battled back against the throw to get back in it at 2-1 and Van Gerwen missed a double top at 2-2 in the fourth to throw away the chance of restoring his two-set lead, allowing Taylor to step up with his own 40 checkout to level the match.
Van Gerwen edged the third set and Taylor was a millimetre away from a 148 checkout before Van Gerwen took the opening leg in the sixth. The Dutchman held in the next and only just missed another break in the third before getting the job done to take a 4-2 lead in sets.
The next set went to a fifth-leg decider as both players held twice. Van Gerwen had the advantage of throwing first, but Taylor chose the perfect moment to break as he closed back to within a set and Taylor again showed his class, holding in the third leg before breaking a second time as the match again moved all square.
The high-quality fare continued in the ninth as the score moved out to 2-2, and again Taylor used all his experience to make his move at the crucial moment, a 132 teeing up a double-tops finish for a break, which he duly completed after Van Gerwen had choked on a 107 checkout chance.
Van Gerwen looked shaky in the next set as Taylor raced to a 2-0 lead, the Englishman eventually prevailing 3-1 to take a 6-4 lead and move to within one set of his 16th world title.
The nerves of both men told at 1-1 in the next set as they took turns to spurn easy checkouts with three darts, but when Taylor landed a double nine to move into a 2-1 lead the writing was on the wall for Van Gerwen, and Taylor duly wrapped things up on a double 16 to clinch his first title since 2010, much to the delight of the raucous London crowd.
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