By Alex Moss
25 MAY 2017 • 4:09PM
Gary Anderson kicked off the defence of his Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters title in style by beating Phil Taylor 10-3 in the quarter-finals yesterday.
Three-time Dubai champion Michael van Gerwen, world number three Peter Wright and World Series debutant Gerwyn Price were the other winners on day one of the two-day tournament, which concludes with the semi-finals and final later today.
The first event of this year’s World Series began at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium yesterday, with defending champion Anderson producing arguably the performance of the round.
The two-time world champion reeled off six legs in a row as he opened up a 7-1 lead against Taylor, before a 120 checkout put the Scot within two legs of victory.
Anderson, who will face Wright in an all-Scottish clash in the semi-finals, hit eight 180s on his way to a 10-3 win which ended 16-time world champion Taylor’s hopes of a first title in Dubai in what could be his last appearance in the desert.
“We all want to win, we’re all after the title and you just have to beat everyone,” Anderson said. “it’s always nice to get past the first round and Peter will be tough to beat.
“I’ll do my best and try and win here again but it’s never easy these days, let’s see what happens.”
Anderson’s World Cup partner Wright had booked his place in the last four earlier in the night with an impressive 10-5 victory over Dave Chisnall.
The UK Open champion broke the Chisnall throw twice in the opening five legs to cruise into a 4-1 lead.
Chisnall produced an 11-dart leg to hold throw in the ninth leg, but he never looked like getting back into the contest as Wright averaged 101.57 in moving through to the semi-finals.
“I believe I’ve just beaten the best player in terms of form in the tournament but I know I still need more,” Wright said.
“I just want to hit loads of 180s and play better. I was ok today but tomorrow I will be better.”
Newly crowned Premier League champion van Gerwen started his bid to claim a fourth title in Dubai with a 10-5 win over fellow Dutchman, Raymond van Barneveld.
The world number one, who has only tasted defeat once Dubai in the four previous years of the event, went into the first break with a commanding 4-1 lead.
Van Barneveld then produced a moment of magic in the sixth leg, checking out 170 to close the gap to two.
But the telling moment of the encounter came in the 10th leg, as van Barneveld missed double five for a 130 finish to break the throw, and van Gerwen responded with a crucial 150 checkout to re-establish a four-leg cushion.
Van Gerwen averaged 104.87 as he completed a 10-5 win and will face Price in the semi-finals.
“I’m not playing perfectly but I am getting closer, I want to win this tournament,” van Gerwen said.
“Gerwyn made the final of the UK Open this year and deserves to be here. My experience will make a difference but he is a good player and I will have to play well.”
World Series debutant Price produced a great comeback from 9-7 down to beat James Wade 10-9 in a last-leg decider, in a match which saw the latter miss double 12 for a nine-dart finish.
Wade made a good start as he broke in the opening leg before going on to miss the final dart for a perfect leg in the fourth leg, which would have been the first nine darter thrown in the unique outdoor setting in Dubai.
The match then went with throw until the 10th leg where Price broke on double 12 with a 14-darter to level the score at 5-5.
The Welshman then moved into the lead for the first time in the next leg by taking out 56 on tops, before Wade gained control again and moved into a 9-7 lead.
Price levelled again to take the match into a deciding leg, which he won on double six to condemn Wade to a fourth consecutive quarter-final defeat in Dubai.
“I think I’ve worked hard this year and have earned my place,” Price said. “I was over-thinking things at the start of the match so had to keep my cool and realise it was just one break.
“I knew I had the game in me to win and I’ve proved that again tonight.”
The Dubai Darts Masters concludes today with the semi-finals and final, as the first winner of this year’s World Series is crowned.
2017 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Wednesday May 24
Gerwyn Price 10-9 James Wade
Peter Wright 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 10-3 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 legs
Thursday May 25 (8pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright
Best of 21 legs
Van Gerwen/Price v Anderson/Wright
Best of 21 legs
Picture: Martin Leak