Darts Taylor makes smooth progress

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Taylor makes smooth progress

The defending champion, Phil Taylor, defeated Keith Deller 4-0 to romp into today's semi-finals of the Vernons Pools World Championship in Purfleet, Essex. Taylor lost only one leg - the third of the second set - in a one- sided match. And even then Deller had to achieve a check-out of 140 to snatch his one crumb of comfort. Stoke-born Taylor, 35, said: "I'm playing with so much confidence, it's unbelievable. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm the best player and they are all worried to death when they play me." Taylor, the top seed, had three 180s and a check-out of 164 in winning 12 of his 13 legs against Deller, and he is now odds-on to win the title for the second successive year. In today's semi-final Taylor will meet 50-year-old John Lowe, who beat Peter Evison 4-2 in the second quarter- final. Lowe won the World Championship three times before he and most of the other leading players broke away to form the World Council three years ago. But he has lost none of his skill and proved this with six maximum 180s during yesterday's contest. Lowe won three of the first four sets before Evison took the fifth in three straight legs. But Lowe, who lost to Taylor in the semi-finals of this tournament a year ago, bounced back to win the sixth set by three legs to two for victory. In the third quarter-final yesterday, Jamie Harvey of Scotland beat Larry Butler of the United States 4-0.