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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 22:31 GMT
Taylor outstrips Painter
Phil Taylor
I am a very lucky man
Phil Taylor produced a superb comeback to win the PDC World Championship for the 11th time with an epic 7-6 victory over Kevin Painter.

The biggest name in darts appeared to be heading for a second successive final defeat when he fell 4-1 behind.

But Taylor rallied to level the match at 5-5 before producing a 10-dart leg to edge ahead for the first time.

Painter responded to send the match into a decider, but Taylor took a gripping set 6-5 in sudden death.

"Three words sum up tonight - very lucky man," said a relieved Taylor.

"Kevin out-played me on doubles, but he eventually let me in. I thought Kevin was the better player.

"I was not firing on all cylinders and he frightened the life out of me. He will pick his chin up and come back from this."

Painter added: "He just didn't give me a shot in the final set - he is so greedy isn't he?

"I just didn't quite get there but I gave it my best shot.

"To play darts like that under that pressure is incredible. I know what I'm capable of and I can carry this on."

Painter drew first blood as every leg in the opening set went with the darts.

And when Taylor missed a chance to take the second, "The Artist" capitalised, landing two double 20s to go 2-0 up.

But Painter missed a golden chance for a 3-0 lead when he failed with three attempts at double eight, and Taylor reduced the deficit.

The 10-time champion was struggling to find his usual finishing power though, and missed countless doubles as Painter won the next two sets to take a 4-1 lead.

Kevin Painter
Painter took Taylor to the wire
But Taylor dug deep to snatch the sixth and a run of five legs in a row reduced the deficit to 4-3.

The momentum appeared to have switched decisively towards the favourite.

But Taylor missed a shot at double nine to level the match and Painter landed double top at the second attempt to move to within two sets of victory at 5-3.

Once again though the favourite responded, taking the next two sets to level the match at 5-5.

And Taylor showed his class in the 11th when at two legs all, he produced a 10-dart leg to go ahead for the first time in the match.

But Painter refused to be cowed and responded to a Taylor 180 with a maximum of his own to take the match into a final set.

The underdog incredibly missed eight attempts at a double in the opening leg of the decider, but won the next two legs, and continued to hold the advantage at 5-4.

But Taylor took the next to force a sudden-death leg and a double five eventually clinched a remarkable match.


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