Template - Date: Austrian Darts Open 2016
In his first European Tour event for two years, Taylor fired an impressive seven maximums and broke the throw three times as he squeezed past a resilient Michael Smith 6-4. It was exhilarating stuff between Taylor and Smith, with the pair trading breaks throughout.
After Smith claimed the opening leg, the 16-time World Champion quickly responded before breaking the throw on D10 for the first advantage. However, Smith responded immediately to break back only for Taylor to once again return the favour at 3-2.
A scrappy sixth leg went the way of Smith to square things up after Taylor uncharacteristically missed five darts for a two-leg lead. The 26-year-old then pulled out a majestic 130 finish on the bull to claim a 4-3 advantage and move within two a maiden European Tour title.
This only awoke the Power as he then started to play his best darts, landing an 11-darter and 12-darter to move 5-4 in front. And Taylor clinched the victory in the tenth leg with a 32 checkout to mark a successful return to European Tour action.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Taylor in reaching the final. After a hard-fought 6-3 third round victory over Kim Huybrechts, in which he wired double-12 for nine-darter, Taylor raced through the quarter-finals with a 6-2 victory over former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting.
He then faced his toughest test in the semi-finals against a confident Kyle Anderson. The Australian, who had previously knocked World Number One Michael van Gerwen as he hit an incredible three-bull finishes in succession in a 6-4 victory, was on the hunt for his first PDC final and very nearly had the beating of Taylor.
After the pair exchanged the opening legs, Anderson raced into a 4-1 lead and was looking the most likely to reach the final. But Taylor recovered magnificently and won three straight legs to level at 4-4. Anderson again got himself in front and missed one dart for the match, but an 11-darter from Taylor set up a decider which he clinched to reach the final.
Smith also had a troublesome route to the final. After recovering from behind to beat Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 in his third round game, he then repeated the same trick bring an end to Nigel Heydon’s amazing run with a 6-5 victory. He then produced his finest darts of the day in his 6-2 semi-final win over Terry Jenkins.
The World Number Seven had darts to win every leg bar one as he raced into a 5-1 lead. Jenkins, who had beaten the in-form Benito van de Pas and Peter Wright to reach this stage, then clawed a leg back but it wasn’t enough as Smith crawled over line. However, Smith couldn’t get past Taylor to claim a third European Tour trophy in two years, with the Power taking his tally of titles to four.
Austrian Darts Open – European Tour Event 5
Sunday 12th June 2016
101.36 Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Steve Beaton 91.28
104.77 Jelle Klaasen 5-6 Kyle Anderson 103.61
102.47 Kim Huybrechts 3-6 Phil Taylor 101.73
94.42 Dave Chisnall 2-6 Stephen Bunting 96.70
95.46 Peter Wright 6-5 Alan Norris 102.82
96.95 Benito van de Pas 3-6 Terry Jenkins 93.07
88.88 Ian White 0-6 Nigel Heydon 92.97
87.41 Michael Smith 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp 86.55
95.84 Michael van Gerwen 4-6 Kyle Anderson 95.31
100.80 Phil Taylor 6-2 Stephen Bunting 88.62
85.72 Peter Wright 4-6 Terry Jenkins 91.44
91.64 Nigel Heydon 5-6 Michael Smith 94.42
105.14 Kyle Anderson 5-6 Phil Taylor 104.20
86.09 Terry Jenkins 4-6 Michael Smith 89.33
97.34 Phil Taylor 6-4 Michael Smith 92.82