PHIL TAYLOR and Adrian Lewis will clash in the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts semi-finals after picking up quarter-final wins over James Wade and Kim Huybrechts on Saturday night.
Taylor continued his bid to win a fifth Grand Slam of Darts title with a 16-12 win against Wade in a tense last eight contest at the Wolverhampton Civic.
The World Champion looked set to race to victory when he won seven successive legs in taking a 9-2 lead – including a superb 143 checkout – only for Wade to fight back, reducing the gap to 12-10 at one stage.
Taylor won the next three legs, and though Wade hit double ten and a 121 finish to keep his hopes alive, a miss at double top in the next leg allowed the Stoke ace to follow a 174 score by hitting double ten for the win.
“It was a great comeback from James and he had me worried,” admitted Taylor. “It was a really hard game and I wasn’t at my best, but sometimes you have to win ugly.
“I relaxed and let James off the hook, and I should have kept the pressure on. Not every game will be a convincing win, but I’m just glad to get through.
“James is getting back to his best and I’m pleased for him.
“It will be a different game against Adrian and I know what to expect from him – a lot of 180s! It’s a big day tomorrow and it will be a great semi-final.”
Lewis, meanwhile, ended Kim Huybrechts’ superb Grand Slam debut by denying the Belgian a win to celebrate his 28th birthday, as the Stoke star picked up a 16-11 triumph.
Lewis raced into a 6-1 lead with some majestic early darts, which included a ten-dart leg and a 110 finish to match Huybrechts’ checkout of the same total.
The Belgian won four legs in the next five as he pulled back to 7-5, only for Lewis to pull away to 13-7 as he took his tally of 180s to nine for the match.
Huybrechts again responded, finishing 65, 76 and 148 to reduce the gap to three legs, but a second 11-darter of the game from Lewis settled any nerves before he finally sealed the win on double 16.
Lewis ended the game with 12 maximums and averaged over 100 as he reached the semi-finals for a second time in Wolverhampton.
“I’m delighted to be through because it was a tough game,” said Lewis. “I started like a train, but Kim came back well and took his chances.
“Even when he made it 13-10, I always felt I had another gear and I put him back under pressure, but I felt in control for the majority of the match.
“I’m playing really well at the minute, I’m enjoying my darts and playing with a lot of confidence, so I’m looking forward to the semis.”
Lewis had moved in to a new house on Friday, and admitted: “It wasn’t the best preparation for me but I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep now!”
Sunday’s opening semi-final will see 2010 champion Scott Waites, the reigning Lakeside Champion, take on 2012 UK Open winner Robert Thornton, who is bidding to reach the final in Wolverhampton for the first time.
The £400,000 tournament will then conclude on Sundayevening with the final at the Wolves Civic as the destiny of the £100,000 first prize is discovered.
William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Saturday November 16
Kim Huybrechts 11-16 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor 16-12 James Wade
Sunday November 17
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Robert Thornton v Scott Waites
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
Best of 31 legs
Evening Session (7pm-9pm)
Best of 31 legs
Kim Huybrechts v Adrian Lewis
0-1 – Lewis finishes 71 for an immediate break of throw.
0-2 – Huybrechts misses two darts at double 16, and Lewis hits double ten
1-2 – Huybrechts opens with a 180 and takes out 110 to get off the mark.
1-3 – Lewis takes out 60 on tops to respond.
1-4 – Lewis finishes 110 to win another leg.
1-5 – Lewis scores 140, 180 and 145 before pinning double 18 for a sublime ten-dart finish.
1-6 – Lewis wins a fourth successive leg as he moves five clear of the Belgian.
2-6 – Both players hit 180s, and when Lewis misses the bull for a 164 finish and two darts at double eight and four, Huybrechts steps in on double ten.
3-6 – Huybrechts lands another 180 and finishes 24 to continue his revival.
3-7 – Lewis scores 180, 99 and 180 as he hits an 11-dart finish.
4-7 – Huybrechts hits a 180 and lands double eight to hit back again.
5-7 – Lewis hits his sixth 180 of the game, but misses four darts at doubles as Huybrechts steps in with a 62 finish.
5-8 – Tops sees Lewis break to regain his three-leg lead.
6-8 – Lewis scores 140, 180 and 145 again, but this time misses six darts at double 18 and nine, with Huybrechts hitting a 171 to leave 32 before double eight sees him break back.
6-9 – Huybrechts misses two darts at double 16 to cut the gap to one leg, and Lewis hits tops to regain his cushion.
6-10 – Lewis lands double three with his third dart to claim a tenth leg.
7-10 – The pair trade 180s as Huybrechts hits double 12.
7-11 – Both players again land maximums, and double five moves Lewis four legs clear once more.
7-12 – Huybrechts misses his chance to respond, and Lewis lands tops to pull away.
7-13 – Lewis moves six legs clear by posting double ten.
8-13 – Huybrechts responds with a 65 finish.
9-13 – Huybrechts finishes 76 in two darts to pick up a second successive leg.
10-13 – The Belgian takes out 148 on double 14 for a brilliant checkout.
10-14 – Lewis lands two 180s in another 11-dart finish, taking out 45 to move two legs from victory.
10-15 – Double top sees Lewis move a leg away from the semi-finals.
11-15 – The pair trade 180s once more, with double 16 seeing Huybrechts keep his hopes alive.
11-16 – Lewis misses the bull for a 130 finish, but returns to seal his semi-final place on double 16.
Phil Taylor v James Wade
1-0 – Taylor finishes 76 on double four to win the opening leg.
1-1 – Taylor misses the bull for a 128 finish, and double five sees Wade level.
2-1 – Taylor takes out 60 on tops to win the third leg.
2-2 – Wade levels by hitting double top.
3-2 – Double four sees Taylor move back in front.
4-2 – Taylor takes out 80 to break for the first time in the game.
5-2 – Taylor lands a 180 and takes out double ten to move three legs clear.
6-2 – Wade hits a 180, but is unable to capitalise on a missed bull from Taylor, who returns to take out 25.
7-2 – Taylor opens the leg with a maximum and finishes 143 to win a fifth successive leg.
8-2 – Taylor kicks off the leg with a 177, and hits tops to break for a third time.
9-2 – Taylor hits another 180 and finishes double 16 to move seven legs clear.
9-3 – Wade replies by finishing 76 to win his first leg in eight.
9-4 – Wade takes advantage of misses by Taylor to land double five for his first break of throw.
9-5 – Wade lands three 140s and then hits tops to continue his revival with a third successive leg.
9-6 – Taylor misses two darts at double 12, and Wade lands double ten to win a fourth straight leg.
9-7 – Wade finishes double ten with his third dart to pull back to two legs behind.
10-7 – Wade misses his chance to pull back to within a leg with three missed doubles, and Taylor hits double two with his third dart as he regains the edge.
11-7 – Double eight sees Taylor win another leg.
11-8 – Wade posts double 12 as he hits back.
12-8 – Wade misses tops for a 106 finish, and Taylor hits double six to move four legs from victory.
12-9 – Wade hits a 180 and tops to reply once again.
12-10 – Wade lands tops again to reduce the gap to two legs.
13-10 – Taylor kicks off the leg with a 180, and hits double 12 to regain some breathing space.
14-10 – Taylor misses double 14 for a 145 finish, but Wade wires three darts at tops to allow him back in on double seven.
15-10 – Taylor posts double eight to move to the brink of victory.
15-11 – Wade opens with a 180, and though Taylor hits a 177 in reply, the left-hander hits double ten to keep his hopes alive.
15-12 – Wade completes a superb 12-darter by taking out 121 on the bullseye.
16-12 – Wade hits his fifth 180 of the game, with Taylor landing a 174 to leave 40 in reply, and when the world number six wires tops for a 120 finish, the Stoke star finally seals victory by hitting double ten.