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Phil Taylor Back to Form in Pursuit of World Championship

2010-PDCChamps-Taylor3
Photos courtesy Lustig/PDC

PHIL TAYLOR bounced back to top form at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, sweeping past Denmark’s Per Laursen in straight sets to move into the third round at Alexandra Palace.

The 15-time World Champion had been below-par in his first round defeat of Gary Mawson before Christmas, but returned to London boosted by the improving health of his recently-born third grandchild and his second place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

He went on to drop just four legs in a straight sets win over Denmark’s Laursen to progress to the third round, where he will now meet Lowestoft’s Peter Wright in the last 16 on Wednesday night.

“I feel like I’m ready to win the World Championship now,” said Taylor. “I was nice and relaxed because the pressure has been taken off me.

“My little grandson is out of intensive care, which was a massive pressure on me, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year was one of the greatest days of my life, one of my proudest ever days.

“It’s been a humbling week for me and the crowd were incredible to me tonight. I was a bit worried before the match but I’ve got through it and I’ve not dropped a set yet.”

Wright had book defeated Paul Nicholson earlier on Monday and was joined by Rugeley’s Mark Hylton as an unseeded qualifier in the third round, after the left-hander knocked out former world number one Colin Lloyd 4-2.

2010-PDCChamps-Hylton1

Lloyd hit back from 2-1 down to level superbly and lead in the fifth set, only for Hylton to win the final six legs without reply to secure his place in the last 16, where he faces Wales’ Mark Webster, who had seen off Ronnie Baxter in straight sets.

Stoke’s Adrian Lewis – a quarter-finalist last year – swept aside Mark Dudbridge 4-1, with the 2005 runner-up taking the fourth set to threaten a comeback from 3-0 down before the 25-year-old wrapped up the win.

Lewis now plays Robert Thornton in the third round, after the Scot brushed off Andy Hamilton in straight sets.

The second round continues on Tuesday with six games set across two sessions at Alexandra Palace, including world number two James Wade against Austria’s Mensur Suljovic and last year’s World Championship runner-up Simon Whitlock facing Denis Ovens.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Second Round
Monday December 27
Afternoon Session
Ronnie Baxter 0-4 Mark Webster
Paul Nicholson 2-4 Peter Wright
Andy Hamilton 0-4 Robert Thornton
Evening Session
Colin Lloyd 2-4 Mark Hylton
Adrian Lewis 4-1 Mark Dudbridge
Phil Taylor 4-0 Per Laursen

MARK HYLTON 4-2 COLIN LLOYD
(3-2, 2-3, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1, 3-0)
MARK HYLTON continued his giant-killing feats at the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship by dumping out former world number one Colin Lloyd with a 4-2 victory.

With the match all-square at two sets apiece, former airline cabin manager Hylton produced some high class darts to win six successive legs and see off Lloyd, who became the fourth member of the top 16 to fall on day nine of the competition.

Hylton had knocked out Steve Beaton in the first round, and is rewarded with a clash against Mark Webster in the last 16 on Wednesday as his dream World Championship debut continued.

Lloyd won the opening leg against the darts by hitting double top, after Hylton had missed a dart at the same double.

Lloyd, who defeated Andree Welge in an extraordinary five-set encounter in the first round, won the second leg by hitting double 16 to extend his lead.

Hylton won his first leg of the contest in the next by hitting double ten and then hit the same double to win the fourth leg for a break of throw.

Both players began a dramatic deciding leg with a maximum before Hylton had the first opportunity to win the set, but he missed two darts at doubles to allow Lloyd in.

Lloyd, though, was unable to take the chance as three darts at double 18 were just off-target and Hylton hit double ten for the third successive leg to edge a tight set.

Lloyd won the opening leg of the second set by hitting double eight before Hylton levelled in the second and then broke throw by hitting double top after the Essex ace missed a dart at bullseye for a 170 checkout.

In the fourth leg, Hylton missed a dart at bullseye for a 126 checkout, which would have given him the set, and Lloyd hit double four to break back.

Lloyd had the advantage of throw in the deciding leg and hit a fantastic 136 checkout to seal the set in style and square the match at one apiece.

Hylton hit his second maximum of the game in the opening leg of third set, and won it in 15 darts before breaking throw in the second by taking out 66 after Lloyd had missed two darts at tops.

In the third leg Hylton hit double ten to win the set and lead the match for the second time.

Lloyd made a winning start to the fourth set with an 86 finish but Hylton won the second with a clinical two-dart 64.

Hylton then won the third leg against throw before Lloyd produced some class to win the next two legs in 12 and 14 darts to win the set and leave the match finely balanced.

Lloyd kept that excellent form going with another 12-dart finish to win the opening leg of the fifth set, but replied in the same manner to stop his run before posting a 12-dart finish to win the third leg.

Hylton hit another maximum in the fourth, his third in successive legs, and then returned to the oche to produce a fabulous 138 checkout to win the set and move ahead in the match for a third time.

Hylton hit his seventh maximum at the start of the sixth set but missed a dart at double top to win the leg, although two misses at tops from Lloyd allowed him back on double ten to break.

Hylton then hit back-to-back 140s at the beginning of the second leg and won it on double 12, with his third dart, to move one leg away from victory.

In the third leg, Lloyd missed one dart at double 16 for a 102 checkout and Hylton hit double top to complete a 68 finish and secure a famous victory.

“I’m over the moon – I can’t believe what’s happened but I am delighted with this victory,” said Hylton. “I was really up for the game and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the key was that I took my doubles out

“I know how good I can be but in the past my mind wandered and I lost focus. I feel that I can improve in the longer formats and they will suit me better.”

ADRIAN LEWIS 4-1 MARK DUDBRIDGE
(3-2, 3-0, 3-1, 1-3, 3-2)
ADRIAN LEWIS sealed a third round place at the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a 4-1 victory over Mark Dudbridge.

Lewis was in scintillating form to win the first three sets of the match before Dudbridge staged a brief revival.

However, Lewis closed out the game in a tight fifth set to set up a clash against Robert Thornton in the last 16 on Wednesday.

Both players held their throws in the opening two legs of the contest and Lewis continued that trend when he won the third leg, with the aid of a maximum.

Dudbridge, who defeated Alex Roy in the first round, hit a 180 of his in the fourth leg and won it 12 darts to force a decider.

Lewis had the advantage of throw in the final leg and hit a clinical 171 to leave 36 before posting double nine to win the leg and secure a high-quality first set.

The number five seed stepped a gear in the second set with some fabulous finishing, hitting 94 to break throw in the first leg and an effortless 111 checkout to take the second, before posting his second maximum and an 84 finish to seal the set and leave Dudbridge two sets down.

Lewis hit double ten to win the opening leg of the third set before Dudbridge won the second with an impressive 13-dart finish.

Both players hit maximums in the third leg, which was won by Lewis after the Bristolian missed two chances to break his opponent’s throw.

The fourth leg saw both players kick-off with back-to-back 180s but it was won by Lewis 12 darts to win the set and leave Dudbridge with a mountain to climb.

Dudbridge was off-target with three attempts at doubles at the start of the fourth set, and Lewis stepped in to hit double for a break of throw.

But Dudbridge showed great character to hit back and win the second by hitting double eight with his first dart and the third by landing double four.

Dudbridge hit his sixth maximum of the game at the start of the fourth leg and went on to win in 13 darts to win the set.

The opening leg of the fifth set proved to be a dramatic affair as both players struggled to find the winning double, and it eventually went to Dudbridge, who hit double one with his last dart to break throw to continue the revival.

Dudbridge, though, missed a dart at the bullseye to win the second leg and Lewis hit double top to level before landing the same double to win the third.

That put Stoke ace one leg away from the match, but Dudbridge kept his hopes alive with a 107 finish to force a deciding leg to fifth set.

Lewis then missed one dart at double top to seal victory, but Dudbridge could take the chance given to him as he missed two darts at double 19 and eight, and Lewis made no mistake to hit double top at the first time of asking.

“I should have probably won the match 4-0 but I lost a little bit of focus and it cost me the fourth set, admitted Lewis.

“If Mark had taken that chance to win the last set I could have been trouble, but I’ve won and I can look forward to the next round.”

PHIL TAYLOR 4-0 PER LAURSEN
(3-1, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0)
PHIL TAYLOR bounced back to top form at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, sweeping past Denmark’s Per Laursen in straight sets to move into the third round at Alexandra Palace.

The 15-time World Champion had been below-par in his first round defeat of Gary Mawson before Christmas, but returned to London boosted by the improving health of his recently-born third grandchild and his second place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

He went on to drop just four legs in a straight sets win over Denmark’s Laursen to progress to the third round, where he will now meet Lowestoft’s Peter Wright in the last 16 on Wednesday night.

“I feel like I’m ready to win the World Championship now,” said Taylor. “I was nice and relaxed because the pressure has been taken off me.

“My little grandson is out of intensive care, which was a massive pressure on me, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year was one of the greatest days of my life, one of my proudest ever days.

“It’s been a humbling week for me and the crowd were incredible to me tonight. I was a bit worried before the match but I’ve got through it and I’ve not dropped a set yet.”

Taylor broke his opponent’s throw at the start of the match with an 80 finish, which was soon followed by a 100 checkout to win the second leg.

Laursen won the third leg by landing double four after Taylor had missed an opportunity for the set, but the world number one hit double 16 to establish an early lead.

Taylor won the first leg of the second set hitting double top at the first time of asking before Laursen produced an excellent 13-darter to win the second and level.

Taylor won the third leg, hitting double top for the second time in the set before hitting three consecutive 140s in the fourth.

But two uncharacteristic errors by Taylor, who missed two darts at double 12, allowed Laursen, who beat three-time world champion John Part in the first round, to hit double eight.

Taylor had advantage of throw in the deciding leg and made that count by reaching a finish first and hit double top again to extend his lead.

Taylor, who defeated Gary Mawson on the opening night of the event, won the first leg of the third against the darts and then recorded a 107 checkout to win the second.

Laursen won the third leg with a 14-dart finish and had a chance to win the fourth, but his attempt at double top was off-target and Taylor hit a 68 finish to win the set and move 3-0 ahead.

Taylor hit his first maximum of the contest in the first leg of the fourth set and returned to the oche to hit double 16 before a break of throw moved him within touching distance of victory after Laursen missed a dart at double 12.

Laursen hit a maximum in the third – but that was his last visit to the oche as Taylor hit double top at the first time of asking to wrap up the match.

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