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Sky Poker World Grand Prix - Semi-Final Round-Up
PHIL TAYLOR and Raymond van Barneveld will clash in the final of the Sky Poker World Grand Prix on Sunday after convincing wins in the tournament's semi-finals.

The world's top two players dropped just seven legs between them in 5-0 semi-final romps over Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins to set up a high-profile decider.

Van Barneveld produced a powerful display to see off King 5-0, winning eight of the last nine legs of their semi-final to reach his first final in the double-start format.

"I've known him for a lot of years and I know what he can do, but after the second set he seemed to lose his belief," said van Barneveld.

"I lost my focus a bit because of that but I had to keep going because I wanted to get into the final so much, and I didn't give him many chances."

Taylor

went even better to average a superb 99.17 in seeing off Jenkins - a performance which included finishes of 167, 136 and 121 and an incredible final six legs.

Taylor came from 2-0 down to win the fourth set in a decider and then power through the final set without Jenkins even reaching a double with legs of 14, 13, 12, 14, 12 and 13 darts.

"We both clicked into gear at the same time and the last three sets were superb to play in," said Taylor. "Terry never gives up and he didn't right to the end, despite the scoreline."

Sunday's final will be their first meeting in a televised decider since van Barneveld claimed the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship title in January 2007 with a sudden-death victory.

"It could be the greatest final in the history of the event," added Taylor. "On paper, it's the final everybody wants to watch and it will be a little bit special.

"He had a couple of months off after Blackpool and he's fresh, and it's probably made him a better player."

Sky Poker World Grand Prix

Semi-Finals

Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 Mervyn King

Phil Taylor 5-0 Terry Jenkins

Final

Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor

Best of 11 sets

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 5-0 MERVYN KING

(3-1, 3-0, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0)

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD romped into the final of the Sky Poker World Grand Prix with a 5-0 rout of Mervyn King.

The Dutchman dropped just three legs in a commanding display to reach his first final in the double-start tournament.

King, who had battled past Wayne Jones, Tony Eccles and Dennis Priestley to reach his first semi-final in a televised PDC event, never got into his stride as his World Grand Prix came to a disappointing end.

Van Barneveld set the tone for the display with a 14-darter to open the game, with King levelling on double 16 but unable to apply the pressure in the next two legs as the Dutchman won the set.

King then missed with his first three darts in the next three legs as van Barneveld took the second set without reply.

A 76 checkout made it six successive legs for the Dutchman as he led in the third before a missed double top allowed King to take leg two on double eight.

However, van Barneveld applied a classy touch to take the set and a 3-0 lead, following up a 110 finish with a 13-darter.

Double five put King ahead in set four, but van Barneveld landed a second maximum of the game in levelling before hitting back-to-back 180s in another 13-darter to lead 2-1.

A two-dart 76 finish from van Barneveld secured the set and a 3-0 lead, and King wasted his chance in the fifth set's opener as van Barneveld took out double ten.

Double nine put the Dutchman a leg away from victory, and he sealed the win on double ten to book his place in the final.

"I was surprised with Mervyn's display," said van Barneveld. "I've known him for a lot of years and I know what he can do, but after the second set he seemed to lose his belief.

"I lost my focus a bit because of that but I had to keep going because I wanted to get into the final so much, and I didn't give him many chances."

The final will be van Barneveld's first in a televised event since July 2007 at the Las Vegas Desert Classic, as he marks a successful return from a two-month break.

"After losing to Wayne Mardle in the World Matchplay I'd stopped believing in myself and needed a break but it feels good to be back," he added.

"My doubles are great and I'm believing in myself again."

PHIL TAYLOR 5-0 TERRY JENKINS

(3-1, 3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 3-0)

PHIL TAYLOR produced a clinical display to fire himself into the final of the Sky Poker World Grand Prix with a 5-0 romp against Terry Jenkins.

Taylor

matched Raymond van Barneveld's straight sets semi-final win over Mervyn King to remain on course for an eighth World Grand Prix title.

He lost only four legs in the game, but took six in a row to seal the victory in a stunning final two sets, which averaged over 115 for his last surge to victory.

Jenkins shared the opening two legs, but missed three darts to break Taylor's throw in the third as the world number one edged 2-1 up - and then produced a brilliant 167 checkout to take the set.

Jenkins - who had reached the final of the last two World Grand Prix - paid for missing three darts to win the second set's opener, with Taylor taking out double four to lead.

He then took the next two legs to secure the set without reply, and led in the third before Jenkins took advantage of a missed dart at double 16 to level - after Taylor kicked off the leg with seven perfect darts of 160, 180 and a treble 20, with a potential nine-darter going begging on treble 17..

Taylor

responded with a clinical 136 checkout for a 12-darter, and sealed the set in 13 darts against the throw.

Jenkins lifted his own game, hitting back-to-back 180s in the fourth set's opener, which he took in 14 darts, and then taking out 110 to lead 2-0.

However, he would never get a chance at hitting a double for the set as Taylor launched an astonishing barrage in the double-start format.

A 14-darter saved the set, he hit a maximum in a 13-darter to level and then took out 121 for a 12-darter to move 4-0 up in the game.

Further maximums followed in the next two legs as Taylor moved to the brink of victory in 14 and 12 darts, before a superb 13-darter sealed the triumph.

"I started a little slowly but I took some time to adjust to the brighter lights on stage and we maybe showed each other too much respect too," said Taylor.

"We've been practising together all week and enjoyed some great games in practice, so I knew it would be hard.

"We both clicked into gear at the same time and the last three sets were superb to play in. Terry never gives up and he didn't right to the end, despite the scoreline."

Taylor

has claimed the title on seven occasions, and admitted that he is relishing the chance to take on a rejuvenated van Barneveld.

"I love winning and love the challenge," said Taylor. "It's inside me, being on that stage, competing and being part of such a special atmosphere.

"It could be the greatest final in the history of the event.

"On paper, it's the final everybody wants to watch and it will be a little bit special.

"He had a couple of months off after Blackpool and he's fresh, and it's probably made him a better player.

"His confidence was down and sometimes you have to change things to get that back. It's obviously working for him.

"Your most important muscle is your mind - that has to be right because this is a difficult format and you're always under pressure."

Date : 13-10-2008

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