Phil Taylor and James Wade moved into the semi-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay on Friday night, defeating Wes Newton and Raymond van Barneveld in thrilling quarter-finals at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Reigning champion Taylor produced one of his finest performances on the Winter Gardens stage with a 16-5 victory over Newton, a win which was made more remarkable as he had to come from 4-1 down.
Fleetwood’s world number eight Newton took the early advantage in an inspired opening, but Taylor followed a 150 checkout with a brace of 128 finishes in taking the lead, and eventually won nine straight legs in storming to victory.
Taylor averaged over 108 – his highest of the event this year – in taking the victory, and will now play Stoke-born Andy Hamilton in an all-Potteries semi-final on Saturday.
“I’m delighted with that,” said Taylor. “I’m not starting brilliantly but it’s going well after that, and I’m playing maybe as well as I can.
“Wes is setting a good standard at the moment and he’s getting better and better. He doesn’t miss and you have to play well to beat him.
He hit everything early on but the 150 and 128 were massive shots and you could see his head drop a little bit.
“I’m loving this event and with the way the players are playing, you have to be completely on your game.
“I want to hit a 110 average against Andy and to keep improving too because I want to leave here on Sunday with the trophy again.
With World Champion Adrian Lewis having won through to the last four earlier in the day, seeing off Mark Webster, James Wade secured a spot in the semis against the Stoke ace with a 16-11 defeat of Raymond van Barneveld.
The Dutchman shared the opening 14 legs against Wade, who pulled clear in the final stages with some clinical finishing, notably on his favoured double top.
“I’m not in top gear but I’m winning and I need five more percent in my game before I’m at my best,” said Wade.
“This is the best tournament in the world, for me it’s bigger than the World Championship and I get a feeling from this tournament that I don’t get from any other.”
Hamilton, the world number 17 who had claimed the last of 16 Players Championship qualifying places just to get into the World Matchplay before defeating Scottish pair Gary Anderson and John Henderson, had won through to the semis in dramatic fashion earlier on Friday.
He looked set to crash out to Simon Whitlock when the Australian ace led 15-8, but he incredibly won nine successive legs in arguably the greatest comeback in the 18-year history of the World Matchplay.
Coverage of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay semi-finals will be shown live on Sky Sports HD1 on Saturday evening, as well as in 3D on the Sky 3D channel.