PHIL TAYLOR claimed victory in the inaugural TABtouch Perth Darts Masters with a superb 11-9 win over Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling final at the Challenge Stadium on Sunday.
Taylor denied van Gerwen a third successive World Series of Darts triumph with a brilliant display in the final as he mounted his second comeback of the evening to claim victory.
Taylor - last year's Sydney Darts Masters champion - found himself 3-0 down early in his semi-final against Dave Chisnall, who had taken victory when they met in the Singapore Darts Masters last week.
The 16-time World Champion, though, fired up his challenge with a 141 checkout in the fourth leg and also traded 121 finishes with Chisnall as he stormed to victory by winning ten legs out of the next 11.
He then trailed 4-2 and 6-3 in the final, but hit another 121 checkout as he hit back to level at six-all.
The next four legs were shared before Taylor produced the crucial break of throw to move 9-8 up, with a 125 finish consolidating his lead before he went on to seal victory on tops.
"I'm over the moon to win this title," said Taylor, who also defeated van Gerwen in last month's World Matchplay final in the UK. "I thought it was a great final, we put each other under pressure and the momentum was swinging both ways.
"Dave Chisnall did a job on me in Singapore, but I was delighted with my performance against him today. It was like deja vu for me when I went 3-0 down and I was letting him dominate me, but I got the job done well.
"The 125 was a big finish at the right time and that was a big shot. Michael's a great player but you've got to dig in against him, and I did that."
Taylor had been given a rapturous welcome across all three days of the sell-out event in Perth, and added: "It's been absolutely unbelievable and I'm pleasantly surprised.
"The fans have come out and supported us and dressed up, and they were so knowledgable about the game and knew the scores. It looked like they had a great time."
Van Gerwen had progressed to the final with a 10-6 win over James Wade in another high-quality semi-final, mirroring their clash in Singapore last week.
The Dutchman took a 2-0 lead by capitalising on missed doubles from the left-hander, who finished 74 and 81 - for an 11-darter - as he levelled at two-all.
Van Gerwen then won three of the next four legs to take a 5-3 cushion, with Wade twice hitting back on tops only to see the World Champion edge away by following a 74 checkout with a superb 11-darter.
Wade took out 142, with his opponent waiting on 40, as he remained in the hunt at 8-6, but van Gerwen finished 70 and 57 in the next two legs to secure his place in the final.
Four 14-dart finishes helped him into an early 4-2 lead, with Taylor replying with a brace of 13-dart legs in a thrilling opening before posting an 11-dart finish to break back in leg seven.
Van Gerwen, though, capitalised on a miss from his opponent to win the eighth before take out double ten for a 6-3 lead as he edged towards a third successive World Series of Darts triumph.
Taylor, though, hit back to level with a run of three successive legs, taking out 64, 121 and double 16, for a 13-darter as he squared the game at six-all.
The pair traded the next two before van Gerwen took out 155 to lead 8-7, but Taylor's response was clinical as he hit double 16 in the next two legs to put himself ahead for the first time, before finishing 125 on tops to lead 10-8.
Van Gerwen finished double ten to pull back to 10-9 and hit a 177 in the next as he attempted to send the game into a sudden-death deciding leg, but he was unable to take out 90 as Taylor returned to hit tops for the title.
"It's disappointing for me because I felt I had chances to win this game, but fair play to Phil because he hit some big finishes at the right times," said van Gerwen.
"I was really determined to win this title but I'll practice harder now for the next event in Sydney next week."
The PDC's World Series of Darts treble-header concludes next weekend with the Sydney Darts Masters, which will be held at the Hordern Pavilion from August 28-30. For tickets, call Ticketek on 132 849 or visit www.ticketek.com.au.
TABtouch Perth Darts Masters Semi-Finals Phil Taylor 10-4 Dave Chisnall, Michael van Gerwen 10-6 James Wade. Best of 19 legs Final Phil Taylor 11-9 Michael van Gerwen Best of 21 legs.