Phil Taylor 5-3 Gary Anderson

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

THE William Hill World Darts Championship dream is still alive for Phil Taylor after he defeated Gary Anderson 5-3 in the quarter-final to maintain his pursuit of a perfect ending to his career.

The 16-time champion can still finish the sport’s greatest-ever career in the best possible fashion as he proved just too good for two-time World Champion Anderson with a 102 average and 12 180s in the repeat of their 2015 final.

All the damage was done early as Taylor managed to move 4-1 in front thanks to six legs on the spin, and although Anderson came firing back the Scot found the lead insurmountable.

After handing Anderson the throw in typical fashion, Taylor also typically threw a 180 and secured a break in the opening leg as he went on to take the first set despite an 11-darter from Anderson.

The second set went the distance after Anderson blew a 2-0 lead, but he redeemed himself with a 101 finish in the decider, only to be blown away in the third by a Taylor clean sweep.

Anderson again blew a 2-0 lead in set four as Taylor embarked on a run of six straight legs that took him into what looked an unassailable 4-1 lead.

The Scot launched his comeback with a 115 outshot in a fifth set took in four legs, but some real drama emerged in the sixth as Taylor took out 126 for a break to give him the chance to throw for the match.

Taylor kicked off with a 180 but Anderson matched that before taking the leg and claiming the decider to extend the tie further by making it 4-3.

A 12-darter put Taylor on the brink at 2-1 in the eighth set, and he almost brought the house down when just missing tops for a 129 checkout before Anderson forced a deciding leg.

Again Taylor missed tops for the match, but Anderson could not finish and when Taylor returned he made no mistake to book his place in yet another semi-final.

“It was a struggle – my energy levels went towards the end, but I knew I just had to keep putting him under pressure,” said Taylor, who now faces Jamie Lewis for a place in the final.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world and I’m going to miss it after next week but I’ve been around for 30 years now.

“I think the pressure’s off me and on the other players, and that’s what I thought with Gary. He’s defending a World Championship money-wise, and it could drop him down the rankings so there’s a lot more pressure.

“I haven’t got that pressure on me now. I’ve got every admiration for Gary Anderson.”