Smith aims to build on Taylor shock

Smith aims to build on Taylor shock

Michael Smith set his sights on the title after he pulled off a major upset by dumping an off-colour Phil Taylor out of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The 16-time world champion was well below his best as he slumped to a 4-3 defeat against world youth champion Smith after an error-strewn display in the second round.

Taylor was not the only one left licking his wounds as title sponsors Ladbrokes reported they had received a £100,000 bet on the defending champion to win the match at 1/50.

But for 23-year-old Smith, who finished Taylor off in style, producing 11 and 13-dart legs in the decider before clinching the set 4-2 on the bull, it was just the beginning.

“I’m lost for words,” he said. “Nobody expected me to win and I had no pressure on me, but I showed I’ve got fight in me, I’ve got tenacity and I proved I can play darts on TV.

“When Phil hit the 156 to win the first leg I thought I was going to get beaten in 12 legs. But he wasn’t holding his throw and I had to take my chances, and when I broke him in the second set I believed I could do it.

“I didn’t even realise that I’d won the game until I heard the referee call ’Game, Shot’ after I hit the bull for the 128 finish. The fourth set, when I missed doubles to go 3-1 up, was still playing on my mind and I didn’t think I was throwing for the match.

“I’ve beaten the best player in the world and my aim now is to put my name on this trophy – and I’m confident I can win this tournament now.”

Taylor sought to stamp his authority on the match from the start and produced a 156 checkout to win the opening leg of against the throw, rattling through the first set without missing a double.

The second leg was a different story, though, as Taylor’s accuracy on the doubles deserted him.

Both players went down to double one in the second leg, with Smith ending the agony on the way to levelling the match.

Taylor started the third set slowly, but fought back to edge into a 2-1 lead, only for Smith to punish more inconsistency from the world number one to make it 2-2.

Taylor lurched into a 3-2 lead after Smith threw away six darts to take the set, but the young challenger was throwing the more fluent darts and made it 3-3.

An 11-dart leg put Smith within one leg of the biggest win of his career and a 13-dart leg did so again at 3-2.

And this time he closed out the victory, punching the air in celebration.

Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld survived a major scare against Jamie Caven before clinching a 4-3 victory and Peter Wright saw off Per Laursen 4-2.

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