Wright, the 2014 World Championship runner-up, had been watching last year's tournament at home in England but confirmed his rise into the sport's elite with victory against the 16-time World Champion.
Taylor shared the first ten legs with Wright, having turned an early 2-0 deficit into a 5-4 lead at one stage, but a brilliant 141 finish from Wright in the 11th leg - with his opponent waiting on a double - proved crucial.
Wright then finished 96 and 70 to move into an 8-5 lead, before extending the winning run to six straight legs as he condemned Taylor to defeat in his opening game in Dubai for a second successive year.
"I'm delighted to get the win," admitted Wright. "I got a bit emotional on stage and it means a lot to beat Phil.
"He's the best player who's ever lived and he always comes back stronger and stronger, which makes all of us lift our game again. He wasn't at his best tonight but I'm over the moon to beat him.
"I should have gone 3-0 up and I let Phil back in, and I thought then that he was going to run away with it like he normally does, but I tried to keep him under pressure and it worked. The 141 was a big shot.
"I believe I can win this tournament and it's a beautiful trophy, one which I'd love to take home. I've done a lot of hard work in the last year and I believe in my own ability and that I can go all the way."
Taylor hit just five from 18 attempts at a double during the game, and admitted:"It wasn't good enough. I didn't finish well enough and he did.
"The 141 was a killer but I wasn't good enough and I've got to go back to the practice board and dedicate myself again. I'm playing brilliantly in practice but I was an inch above the treble on stage and I didn't find my range.
"There's only one person can put that right and that's me. I was dead frustrated, and Peter's inspired me to come back with a vengeance."
Wright will now play another World Series of Darts newcomer, Dave Chisnall, in Friday's semi-finals after the 2013 World Grand Prix runner-up overcame Simon Whitlock 10-8 in a brilliant game.
Both players averaged over 100 per visit in a high-scoring contest, which saw Whitlock hit nine 180s and finishes of 152 and 108 as he built up leads of 5-2 and 7-5.
Chisnall, though, hit three 11-dart finishes as he levelled at seven-all before taking out a 121 checkout on the bullseye in a run of three successive legs to secure victory.
"It's a great win for me and it was a good game," said Chisnall. "It's a pity there was a loser but I played quite well there and dug in.
"Simon got into the lead at 5-2 but I thought I was still in the game and when I got a chance to hit back I took it well. I'm glad to come through it and I'm looking forward to the rest of the tournament on Friday."
Reigning Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters champion van Gerwen was pushed all the way by James Wade as he began his bid to retain the title with a narrow 10-9 victory in a thriller.
Wade made a superb start as legs of 14 and 13 darts and a 121 finish helped him establish an early 3-1 lead, and he was also 5-3 up before van Gerwen took five successive legs to turn the game on its head.
Wade hit back to level at eight-all, and after tops moved van Gerwen back in front, a 120 checkout from the left-hander sent the game into a deciding leg, but the Dutchman was first to a finish as he took out 63 to progress to a semi-final with Lewis.
"It was a great game," said van Gerwen. "I think I was the most consistent player and that's why I came through it, but James is a fantastic player.
"He played really well and put me under pressure at the start, but when I was 5-3 down I won five straight legs and I was happy with that. I was 8-6 in front and then James came back with two great legs.
"I was maybe trying a little too hard but I got the win and that's the most important thing. I had to fight very hard against him, and I want to play even better tomorrow.
"Adrian's always a big challenge and it's not easy to win this tournament. It's an amazing tournament and I'm really looking forward to Friday."
World number three Lewis kicked off the open-air event at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium with a superb performance as he hit seven 180s in a 10-5 win over van Barneveld.
The Dutchman had entered the event on a high after winning the Premier League Darts title in London a week ago, but never recovered from falling 4-1 down to his rival.
A 138 finish from van Barneveld proved a high point, but Lewis' consistent finishing - as he took out ten doubles from 20 attempts - helped him into Friday's final stages.
"I really enjoyed that," said Lewis. "I knew it would be tough against Barney after winning the Premier League last week, but I had to hit him early and I did the job tonight.
"I finished well and double top didn't let me down tonight. If I can keep that up on Friday then there's no reason why I can't go all the way."
The Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters will be shown live on Dubai Sports TV as well as through OSN across the Middle East, Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, Fox Sports in Australia and on Sky New Zealand, as well as online throughwww.LIVEPDC.TV.
Tickets and Corporate Hospitality tables for the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters can be purchase from Irish Village (+971 (0)4 239 5000) and Time Out Tickets (www.timeouttickets.com).
Coverage on each day will commence at 8pm local time (5pm BST).
Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Thursday May 29
Adrian Lewis 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Simon Whitlock 8-10 Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor 5-10 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 James Wade
Best of 19 legs
Friday May 30
8pm-11pm local time
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Best of 21 legs
van Gerwen/Lewis v Wright/Chisnall
Best of 21 legs
Dubai Sports TV
Fox Sports Australia
Sky New Zealand
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
0-0 - Adrian Lewis wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - van Barneveld takes the opening leg against the throw by hitting tops.
1-1 - Lewis breaks back to level on double six.
2-1 - Lewis fires in the tournament's first 180, before hitting tops to move ahead.
3-1 - van Barneveld hits a 180 to leave 28, but Lewis takes out double three for a 14-darter to break throw again.
4-1 - Lewis wins a fourth successive leg as he moves three legs clear by finishing 105 on tops.
4-2 - Double 16 sees van Barneveld hit back.
5-2 - Lewis replies as he lands a 171 score before hitting tops to restore his advantage.
5-3 - Lewis adds a second 180 of the game, but van Barneveld takes out double 16 as he replies.
6-3 - The world number three posts a third maximum, and cleanly takes out 76 on tops to edge away again.
7-3 - Lewis takes out 80 with two double tops as he breaks throw to lead by four legs.
8-3 - Lewis opens with a 180 only to initially miss three darts at doubles, but when van Barneveld misses double 16 for a 108 finish the UK Open champion returns on double ten.
8-4 - van Barneveld hits back by taking out 71 on tops.
9-4 - The pair trade 180s before Lewis takes out double 18 for a 13-dart leg to move to the brink of victory.
9-5 - Lewis opens with a sixth 180 of the game, but van Barneveld keeps his hopes alive with a superb 138 checkout.
10-5 - The pair trade 180s once again, but van Barneveld misses the bull to allow Lewis in to take out 84 to claim the win.
|Adrian Lewis||10-5||R v Barneveld|
|3||Breaks of Throw||1|
|10/20 - 50%||Finishing %||5/9 - 56%|
Adrian Lewis Video Interview
Simon Whitlock v Dave Chisnall
0-0 - Dave Chisnall wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Whitlock opens the game with a 180, but misses tops to break throw as Chisnall hits double eight to win the opener.
1-1 - Whitlock posts another maximum before taking out 60 on tops to level.
2-1 - Chisnall lands a 180 of his own, but misses tops for a 120 finish as Whitlock breaks throw on double ten.
3-1 - Whitlock hits a third 180 before finishing 70 to continue his charge.
3-2 - Whitlock's brilliant scoring continues with another maximum, but Chisnall replies with a 96 finish for an 11-darter.
4-2 - Whitlock fires in a sensational 152 checkout to regain his advantage.
5-2 - Double ten sees Whitlock break throw and move three legs clear.
5-3 - Chisnall opens with a 180 and hits another 11-dart finish as double 18 sees him break back.
5-4 - The duo trade 180s before Chisnall takes out double 18 once again as he cuts the gap to one leg.
6-4 - A sixth 180 of the game pushes Whitlock ahead in the leg, before he takes out 75 on double 12 to edge away.
6-5 - Chisnall replies to reduce the gap to one leg once more.
7-5 - Whitlock takes out 108 on double 16 to regain his lead.
7-6 - Double five sees Chisnall respond once more.
7-7 - Chisnall opens with 140 and 180 and finishes 86 for a third 11-darter of the game, as a break of throw sees him level.
8-7 - Whitlock replies with a brilliant 12-dart leg, hitting his seventh 180 of the game before taking out 91 on double 16.
8-8 - The pair trade 180s - Chisnall with his sixth and Whitlock with an eighth - before the Englishman takes out 121 on the bull to level again.
8-9 - Chisnall kicks off with a seventh 180 and a 140 before hitting tops to move ahead for the first time since the opening leg.
8-10 - Whitlock fires in a ninth 180 of the game, but Chisnall takes out 81 on double 13 to complete his fightback and claim a fine victory - with both players averaging over 100.
|Simon Whitlock||8-10||Dave Chisnall|
|3||Breaks of Throw||4|
|8/15 - 53%||Finishing %||10/18 - 56%|
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
0-0 - Peter Wright wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Wright takes out 60 on tops to claim the opening leg.
0-2 - Taylor misses double nine to level, and Wright fires in double six as he breaks throw to move two legs up.
1-2 - Taylor takes out 105 on double 14 to break back.
2-2 - Taylor levels the game by hitting double top.
2-3 - Wright takes out 104 on tops to move back ahead.
3-3 - Taylor lands a 180, but initially misses his chance to win the leg only for Wright to miss tops to take out 75, allowing the world number two back in on double one.
3-4 - Wright posts a 180 and finishes 56 on tops to regain the lead.
4-4 - Wright misses five darts to break Taylor's throw, as the Stoke ace punishes him on tops to level.
5-4 - Taylor lands a 180 as he moves ahead for the first time with a break of throw.
5-5 - Taylor bursts a 90 finish, allowing Wright in on double eight to level.
5-6 - Taylor posts a 180, but Wright lands a brilliant 141 to wrestle back the lead.
5-7 - Wright finishes 96 on tops to move two legs clear with a break of throw.
5-8 - Wright pulls away by taking out 70 on double eight.
5-9 - Wright moves to the brink of victory, hitting a 180 and landing tops.
5-10 - Wright wins a sixth successive leg as he completes a superb win on double ten.
|Phil Taylor||5-10||Peter Wright|
|2||Breaks of Throw||4|
|5/18 - 28%||Finishing %||10/24 - 42%|
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - van Gerwen misses one dart to claim the opening leg, and Wade breaks throw to lead with a 14-dart finish.
0-2 - The duo trade 180s, before Wade pins tops to double his advantage with a 13-darter.
1-2 - van Gerwen fires in a 180, and though he initially misses double eight to finish 136, he returns to claim his opening leg.
1-3 - Wade finishes 121 on double 14 to continue his clinical start to the contest.
2-3 - van Gerwen hits back by taking out 48 on tops.
3-3 - Another double top finish sees the World Champion level the game.
3-4 - Wade takes out double 19 as he breaks throw to regain the lead.
3-5 - van Gerwen posts a 171 score, but misses the bull and three darts at double 17 to allow Wade in on tops.
4-5 - van Gerwen takes out 95 on double eight to hit back.
5-5 - The world number one lands a third 180 of the game and takes out 81 to level.
6-5 - Double four sees van Gerwen move ahead for the first time.
7-5 - van Gerwen lands two 180s in a superb 12-dart leg to break throw on double eight.
8-5 - van Gerwen wins a fifth successive leg as he continues his charge.
8-6 - van Gerwen hits his sixth 180 of the game, but Wade lands tops to win his first leg in six.
8-7 - Wade posts his second maximum of the game as he breaks to pull back to within a leg.
8-8 - Wade finishes 94 on double 16 to level the game in style.
9-8 - van Gerwen takes out 80 on tops to move to the brink of victory.
9-9 - Wade finishes 120 to send the game into a deciding leg.
10-9 - van Gerwen claims victory by taking out 63 on double 16.
|Michael van Gerwen||10-9||James Wade|
|3||Breaks of Throw||3|
|10/22 - 45%||Finishing %||9/13 - 56%|