PHIL TAYLOR claimed glory at the inaugural Sydney Darts Masters, in association with tab.com.au, as he powered to a 10-3 victory over Michael van Gerwen in Saturday’s final at Luna Park in Sydney.
Taylor was at his imperious best as he ended Australian hopes in the tournament with a sensational 10-6 semi-final win over Simon Whitlock, the world number four who never recovered from going 4-1 and 8-2 down.
Taylor averaged 109.42 in his semi-final triumph, and bettered that mark in the decider with another unstoppable performance.
Van Gerwen had powered in seven 180s and three ton-plus checkouts as he defeated Adrian Lewis 10-7 in their last four clash, but the Dutch star was unable to repeat the feat in the final.
Taylor won the game’s opening four legs to take command, punishing a missed double from van Gerwen in each, and though the world number two halved the gap with finishes of 66 and 70, he was powerless to halt another charge from the World Champion.
Taylor won the next five legs as he moved into a 9-2 lead, and though van Gerwen took out 81 to hit back, the 53-year-old took out a fine 134 checkout to seal glory in the first televised tournament to be held in Australia.
The 16-time World Champion had overcome home opposition in each of his first three games, against Kyle Anderson, Paul Nicholson and Whitlock, and ended the event with a tournament three-dart average of 107.28.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Taylor. “I felt very comfortable today but it was a tough event.
“I think Michael’s semi-final took a lot out of him because it was a tough match and he took out some unbelievable finishes. He’s a fantastic player and I knew I had to get on top of him straight away in the final, which I did.
“It’s been fantastic to come to Sydney and not just play well but to win this title. I’m trying to push the standard up and it will improve the game, and people will see unbelievable darts in the future.
“The future’s certainly bright in Australia because the crowds were fantastic, the players who qualified did well and Simon Whitlock was superb throughout the week.”
Van Gerwen, like in January’s World Championship final, was left to settle for the runners-up trophy, but gained revenge for semi-final losses to Lewis in the European Championship and World Matchplay in July with a memorable win in their last four clash.
“Phil played well in the final and deserved to win,” said van Gerwen. “I’m disappointed because I wasn’t able to repeat my form of the semi-finals but it’s been a great tournament.”
Whitlock had been aiming to crown his status as Australia’s leading player by taking the title on home soil, but said: “Phil got ahead of me early on in the semi-final and I left myself too much to do.
“I’m proud to have got this far, though, and it’s been an amazing week for me and for darts in Australia. It’s a great moment for us to have such a big event here in Sydney and hopefully this is just the start of massive things for the sport in Australia.”
The $140,000 tournament was staged in the Big Top at Sydney’s iconic Luna Park, and screened live in Australia by FOX SPORTS, as well as worldwide, and is the PDC’s second World Series of Darts event, following May’s Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters, which was won by van Gerwen.
Sydney Darts Masters
Phil Taylor 10-6 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Adrian Lewis
Best of 19 Legs
Phil Taylor 10-3 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 19 Legs