Phil Taylor ended Michael van Gerwen’s reign as BetVictor World Matchplay champion with a stunning 16-6 success to set up a semi-final against Adrian Lewis.
Taylor’s bid to win a 16th title in his final appearance at the Winter Gardens had already seen him overcome Gerwyn Price and Raymond van Barneveld this week.
That challenge continued in incredible fashion against van Gerwen as the 56-year-old clinically punished his Dutch rival for an off-day on the doubles.
Taylor capitalised on missed doubles from van Gerwen to win the opening three legs, and also landed double eight for a 4-0 lead before the Dutchman landed a 180 and a 76 finish for an 11-darter to get off the mark.
Taylor responded with a 72 finish to regain his cushion before punishing misses from Van Gerwen in two of the next three as he led 8-1.
Another 11-darter gave van Gerwen his second leg, but four missed doubles in leg 11 allowed Taylor to finish 82 as he moved 9-2 up, before taking out 122, a key 99 and an 11-darter in a burst where he won four legs from five.
Taylor’s miss at double 18 allowed Van Gewen to hit back on double 10 and the next two legs were shared before tops moved the veteran to the brink of victory at 15-5.
Double one from van Gerwen saved the game, but the fightback was ended as Taylor pinned tops to seal victory.
Lewis continued his challenge to win his maiden World Matchplay title by holding off battling Alan Norris with a 16-13 victory.
Norris was punished for a slow start as Lewis took the opening three legs, only for the UK Open semi-finalist to hit back and level, taking out 114 in the sixth leg.
Norris then missed the bull for a 126 finish to move ahead as Lewis regained the lead, broke with a 13-darter and then took out 72 to open up a 6-3 advantage.
A four-leg burst from Lewis – including a 110 checkout – put him in command at 10-4 before he opened up an eight-leg lead at 13-5.
Norris pulled back three legs, but six misses in the next allowed Lewis to claim his 14th leg of the game.
A 116 from Norris continued his big finishing as the gap closed to two legs before another 180 and double 10 enabled Norris to pull back to 14-13.
He crucially missed tops for a 160 finish to level in leg 28, with Lewis taking out 102 to give himself breathing space before taking out tops to finally claim victory.