PHIL TAYLOR was crowned the 2016 Austrian Darts Open Champion as he beat Michael Smith to claim a fourth European Tour title at the at the Multiversum in Schwechat, Vienna.
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 Smith 6-4 in an incredible final.
It was exhilarating stuff between Taylor and Smith, who has two European Tour titles of his own and was playing in a fifth final, 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 of victory
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.
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Austrian Darts Open
Sunday June 12
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Terry Jenkins 6-4 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-5 Nigel Heydon
Phil Taylor 6-5 Kyle Anderson
Michael Smith 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 6-4 Michael Smith
All games are the best of 11 legs