King bows down to Barney
Van Barneveld to meet Taylor for Grand Prix title
Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor will renew their great rivalry after both booked their place in the Sky Poker World Grand Prix final with whitewash victories in Dublin.
Both players were in frightening touch in their semi-final match-ups, 'Barney' cruising to a 5-0 victory over an out-of-sorts Mervyn King before 'The Power' surged past Terry Jenkins in similar style.
The final promises to be an absolute epic judging by the way both players dismissed their respective last four opponents.
Van Barneveld rediscovered the sort of form which led him to the 2007 World Championship as he clinically dispatched King to reach his first ever Grand Prix final in the opening match.
After a fine victory over Dennis Priestley the previous evening, King would have fancied his chances of an upset inside the Citywest Hotel, however a ruthless van Barneveld ruthlessly put paid to any such hopes.
Greeted to the oche by a chorus of boos, King failed to get to grips with the intimidating atmosphere as 'Barney' flew out of the traps to take the opening leg with just 14 darts.
That opening leg set the tone for the rest of the match, King failed to find the trebles with any regularity as the man from The Hague coasted to the opening set.
King in tatters
King's failure to open up with a double cost him dear in sets two and three as Barneveld capitalised clinically - taking out 110 midway through the third set with minimum fuss.
The chants of 'Barney army' from the raucous Dublin crowd rung out louder as the world number two racked up back-to-back 180s before clinching the fourth set.
With King's confidence in tatters, van Barneveld piled on the misery in the fifth set and sealed his place in the final by planting his arrow into double eight.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, van Barneveld said: "I never game him a chance, I missed a couple of doubles at the end but Merv wasn't himself.
"It feels good I'm back again, I'm in World Cup form at the moment and my doubles are great and I am starting to believe in myself again."
Taylor was equally as impressive as he averaged just less than 100 on his way to a sensational 5-0 win over fan-favourite Jenkins.
The 'Bull' failed to recover after missing six darts at a double on Taylor's throw in the third leg of the opening set and Taylor made him pay as he held his darts before taking the set in spectacular fashion with a 167 checkout.
Taylor broke Jenkins' throw at the start of the second and went on to clinch the set 3-0 as the 13-time world champion began to find his groove.
The third set was of the highest quality, both players exchanging 180's and clinical finishes at an average of 100 plus.
Jenkins struck first against the Taylor throw, with all eyes fixed on a potential nine-darter from 'The Power', 'The Bull' snuck in and took out 96.
Taylor responded with a checkout of his own, a sublime 136 finish was followed up by another high scoring leg as he marched into a 3-0 lead.
Instead of crumbling under the pressure, as King did so spectacularly earlier in the evening, Jenkins showed admirable resolve as he notched up three 180s in the opening two legs of the fourth set to go 2-0 ahead.
However, Taylor responded superbly by restoring parity before taking out 121 in scintillating style to clinch the fourth set and effectively kill off 'The Bull'.
Taylor bounced off the stage in celebration and his passage to the final was confirmed as he breezed through the fifth set 3-0 before he too finished the match on double eight.
Speaking on his rivalry and final meeting with van Barneveld, Taylor said: "I think most of the Irish people and even Sky wanted this final and I think tomorrow will be buzzing.
"This final is going to be special. Barney has had two or three months off, he told me he hasn't been practising but I don't believe him for one second."