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reigning champion Phil Taylor was dumped out of the PartyPoker.net European Championship at the quarter-final stage by Brendan Dolan.
Taylor was never in the lead during the contest, which he eventually lost 10-6 at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany.
The 15-time world champion showed some uncharacteristically lax finishing early on, allowing Dolan to build a commanding 5-2 lead.
Taylor managed to slice the deficit down to two after 12 frames, but he never looked in control of the match: he was benefitting from Dolan’s mistakes, rather than upping his own game.
Dolan sapped the fight from Taylor in the 15th, checking out 82 to move 9-6 up, before a double-eight finish in the 16th won him the match.
In the other completed quarter-final, Wes Newton beat Andy Hamilton 10-7
Adrian Lewis (Pic: Getty)
Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis may be the PDC World Darts Champion for the second year in a row, but he’s still playing second fiddle to 15-time champ Phil “The Power” Taylor in the PDC rankings.
Phil “The Power” Taylor – still world number one
PDC ORDER OF MERIT – TOP TEN (AT JAN 3RD, 2012)
1. Phil Taylor – £665,100
2. Adrian Lewis – £558,800
3. James Wade – £383,700
4. Gary Anderson – £329,300
5. Simon Whitlock – £233,700
6. Wes Newton – £215,400
7. Andy Hamilton – £212,900
8. Mark Webster – £183,400
9. Raymond van Barneveld – £168,300
10. Kevin Painter – £161,700
Andrew Hamilton emerged victorious from a 2 hour plus battle with Simon Whitlock, having initially taken a 3-1 lead courtesy of some big finishes, the Stoke chucker was pegged back by a Wizard firing in 140′s and 180′s for fun, as the treble eluded his own tungsten. At 5-3 to the Australian things we looking ominous for Hamilton.
Cue the Hammers fightback and some sloppy doubling from Whitlock. At 5-4 down in the 10th set Hamilton had to break Whitlock to survive, he duly obliged holding his own throw in the next leg with a 110 checkout to treat the packed Alexandra Palace crowd to a final set thriller.
Both players held throw as the first 4 legs were shared, but at 2 each Hamilton pulled away taking the set 4-2 (final set has to be won by 2 clear legs) to book his place in the final of the 2012 PDC World Championship.
Andy Hamilton 6 v 5 Simon Whitlock
(3-0, 2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 0-3, 2-3, 0-3, 0-3, 3-2, 3-1, 4-2)
The second of the evenings semi-final was tainted by an issue with a draft on stage which left the audience chanting ‘we want darts’ as the players left the stage on more than one occasion whilst Engineers investigated.
With the score poised at 2-0 to James Wade, defending champion Lewis seemed to be most affected by the perceived breeze which prompted both Tommy Cox and Matt Porter of the PDC to appear in front of the cameras to rationalise the issue, which was attributed to natural movement of air and unusually warm outside temperatures for the time of year, rather than any air conditioning system.
When play eventually re-started it was the Machine who maintained his cool, as he breezed into a 4-1 lead. Surfacing from the break (was it necessary?) at the witching hour, Wade maintained his advantage and at 5-1 Lewis had the aire and luck of a beaten man, having suffered two bounceouts.
Hungry to retain his title the World Champion then found some fluency as he took the 7th set to reduce the arrears to 3 sets, and then went on to break Wade in the first leg of the 8th set, only for wade to break back. At two legs each in the set The Machine, looking for his place in the final couldn’t finish 108, but Jackpot stepped up and took his chance, and the set with a two dart 98 checkout.
Lewis then proceeded to take the ninth set in less than 6 minutes, hit 6 perfect darts in breaking Wade in the first leg of the tenth set, eventually taking out the madhouse thanks to Wades failed attempt at tops. Wade visibly on the rocks relinquished the set 0-3 to send the match to 5-5 and another final set showdown.
So to the eleventh and final set, Wade bereft of scoring and double hitting ability (apart from an inadvertent double 17 in the first leg) was all but finished. Jackpot took all three legs, the second of which saw both players requiring double 1. The defending champion and 6-5 winner showed true grit but Wade will rue letting the chance slip away.
This sets up an all Stoke 2012 PDC World Championship final between Andy Hamilton v Adrian Lewis