Darts: Phil Taylor shrugs off cold to whitewash Andy Hamilton

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PHIL TAYLOR claimed he was coming down with a cold – but he looked in red-hot form as he demolished Andy Hamilton 5-0 to reach the semi-finals of the PDC World Championships at Alexandra Palace last night.

The 15-time world champion lost only two legs in a thoroughly one-sided encounter, taking advantage of early mistakes from Hamilton and then blowing away an opponent under pressure of his own making.

Asked how he felt following such a dominant win, Taylor said: “Shattered. I’m ready for bed. I’m a bit under the weather, I’ve got a cold coming on.”

And as straightforward as he had made it look, Taylor denied having an easy night.

“I didn’t think it was easy,” he said. “He just kept missing doubles. It’s all about finishing and Andy just kept letting me in.”

Taylor, pictured below, took the opening leg with ease, but Hamilton then blew chances to take the second and third, missing two doubles in the third before Taylor hit double top to go one set up.

After Taylor won the opening two sets without dropping a leg, Hamilton won the opener in the third set, but Taylor’s response was emphatic as he came from behind with a 78 checkout to tie it up and then – after Hamilton missed a double to win the third leg - Taylor hit double top to go 2-1 up. Taylor took the fourth set without dropping a leg and although Hamilton won the opener in the fifth, it was only a temporary reprieve as Taylor closed it out, having averaged 101.38 and hit 56% of his doubles compared to just 18% for Hamilton.

Taylor’s last-four opponent is Raymond van Barneveld, who romped into the semi-finals with a 5-1 win over Simon Whitlock. Although Whitlock put up more of a fight than the result might suggest, Van Barneveld always had an answer as he wore down the Australian by averaging 102.32.