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Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

Phil Taylor suffers heaviest defeat in Premier League

Phil Taylor
Taylor has lost only six matches during seven years in the Premier League

Adrian Lewis thrashed reigning Premier League champion Phil Taylor on the opening night of the 2011 tournament at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday.

It is the heaviest defeat that Taylor has suffered in the seven-year history of the Premier League, eclipsing his 8-3 loss to Peter Manley in 2008.

With the scores level at 2-2, world champion Lewis raced clear of his Stoke-on-Trent rival and former mentor.

The 26-year-old claimed six consecutive legs to seal a comfortable victory.

Taylor, 50, had been suffering with a bout of flu since winning the Players Championship in Doncaster on Sunday, but was keen not to make excuses for his defeat.

"I was awful and I've got to work hard to put it right because I don't want to keep playing like this," said the 15-times world champion.

If I can beat the best player in the world 8-2 then I'll be confident I can beat anybody

Adrian Lewis

"I know what I've got to do and it's up to me to put it right and sort myself out."

World number two, Lewis, continued the resurgent form of the past six months that has seen him reach the World Grand Prix final in Dublin in October and claim the world title in January, his first major prize.

"Phil's done everything in the game and if I can beat the best player in the world 8-2 then I'll be confident I can beat anybody," said Lewis.

"I was pretty focused and I did a good job, but I can't get carried away because there are 14 weeks and I've got to try and stay consistent."

There were also opening-night victories for debutants Mark Webster and Gary Anderson over James Wade and Simon Whitlock respectively, while Terry Jenkins overcame Raymond van Barneveld 8-6.

The next round of matches is on 17 February in Nottingham, with Lewis taking on 2009 Premier League champion Wade and Taylor facing Webster, the man who beat him at the World Championship at the Alexandra Palace earlier this year.

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