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Coral Sydney Masters: Taylor starts title defence after Perth victory

In the third edition of the Coral-sponsored Sydney Darts Masters, all-time great Phil Taylor attempts to defend his title for a second time after having a 100 per cent record in this competition to date.

The Power is certainly raring to go, after just claiming the first of three 2015 World Series of Darts trophies Down Under at the Perth Masters and, with the rest of the field, now travels across from Australia’s west to east coast.

Here is Coral’s preview of the event, ahead of the final Oceanic tournament this series in New Zealand’s Auckland…

Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris

Darts - McCoy's Premier League Darts - Capital FM Arena

Barney has not enjoyed a great year to date, but showed glimpses of what he can still offer in Perth after seeing off home hope Simon Whitlock in a high-quality clash before bravely going out to Dutch compatriot Michael van Gerwen in the quarters.

He is the heavy 1/16 favourite to beat Kiwi Harris, and a more enticing 13/5 to do so 6-1.

Stephen Bunting v David Platt

Darts - 2014 BDO World Professional Darts Championships - Day Nine - Lakeside Complex

Like Van Barneveld, Bunting has been lacking in confidence in 2015 despite being touted as one of the sports’ next biggest things.

The Bullet was a finalist here last year, though, so is 1/7 to defeat Platt and 28/1 to go all the way this time.

James Wade v Craig Caldwell

Darts - Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championships - Day Nine - Alexandra Palace

In contrast to the above darting giants, Wade has come back into form this year, having recently reached finals at the World Matchplay and in Perth, so is heavily odds-on favourite to beat Caldwell, who lost 6-1 to Taylor in the latter tournament.

The Machine is 9/4 to inflict that scoreline on the New Zealander too, and 10/1 to win the title.

Gary Anderson v Warren Parry

Gary Anderson

After starting the year so brightly, winning the World Championship and then Premier League, The Flying Scotsman’s form has slightly tailed off recently, although he is still a threat in any event and is third-favourite for this tournament at 11/2.

Anderson begins his campaign against another Kiwi in Parry, who he is 1/20 to beat and 3/1 to do so 6-0.

Peter Wright v Loz Ryder

Darts - 2014 William Hill World Darts Championship - Day Eleven - Alexandra Palace

Fellow Scot Snakebite is also a terrific shout for the title at 16/1 after a decent season, and faces English-born Aussie Ryder up first this time. Wright is 1/14 for a first round victory, and is 11/4 to win 6-1.

Phil Taylor v Tic Bridge

Darts - 2014 William Hill World Darts Championship - Day Twelve - Alexandra Palace

While Taylor’s major title success has dried up in recent years, he is still smashing it in these World Series competitions, having just won the Japan and Perth Masters this summer.

The Power, who recently turned 55, is 9/4 to win a third straight Sydney trophy, 1/33 to see off Bridge and 12/5 to thrash him 6-0.

Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock

Simon Whitlock

This is the crunch clash of the round, as world number 10 Whitlock (19/10 to win), who reached the semis here in 2013, represents Oceania’s top hope.

Lewis (2/5) and The Wizard are exactly equal in their 24 head-to-heads, so this encounter could go all the way. Whitlock won their last meeting, so back him to edge it 6-5 at 15/2.

Michael van Gerwen v Paul Nicholson

van gerwen 2

Newcastle-born Nicholson (8/1) is the second established Aussie star on the PDC tour, but he happens to come up against world number one and recent World Matchplay champion Van Gerwen (1/16).

Mighty Mike will have been disappointed to have gone out in the semis in Perth, but is the 7/4 title favourite this time around.

Coral’s betting tip – With Taylor in great form of late, back him to beat Bridge 6-0 in his opener @ 12/5