‘Mighty Mike’ jolly after Taylor win

Dutchman Michael van Gerwen has been cut into Even money favouritism after underlying his credentials with a 10-5 win over defending champion Phil Taylor at the Grand Slam of Darts.

The 23-year-old had still been the outright second favourite going into the match with the 15-time world champion but is now clearly the man to beat following his victory.

The first eight legs had gone with the throw but Taylor opened the door after missing the bull for a 167 checkout and van Gerwen charged through it, pulling 8-4 ahead.

‘The Power’ did pull one leg back but it was too little to late as Van Gerwen took out tops to seal the match with a three-dart average of 108.38.

“The last few months I’ve played very well. After the group I was very confident,” he told Sky Sports.

“I didn’t play my best game, but I knew I had to against Taylor.

“I was very glad I was playing my best again him. I’m so proud of myself. I’m practising a lot. I’m working hard to make this happen. I’m very happy to beat Phil Taylor, but he’s still the man to beat.”

Van Gerwen will now take on Scott Waites in the quarter-finals after the only previous champion other than Taylor battled past Robert Thornton 10-8.

Dean Winstanley set up a last-eight clash with Kevin Painter after beating Arron Monk 10-5, while the Players Championship winner proved too strong for Mervyn King, coming through by the same score.

Gary Anderson is priced up as the 6/1 outright second favourite ahead of Wes Newton at 8/1 with the pair both in action on Friday night in their respective second round matches.

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