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Littler wins thriller on European Tour debut in Belgium

Luke Littler marked his European Tour debut with a thrilling deciding-leg victory on the opening day of the Belgian Darts Open, as Stephen Bunting dumped out home hero Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Littler was one of three Premier League stars in action on a bumper opening day in Wieze, and the teenage superstar produced a stunning display of scoring to edge out former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa.

The 17-year-old crashed in eight 180s in a high-octane affair, although he was forced to survive two match darts against the Portuguese star, who pinned his first five attempts at double to establish a 5-4 lead.

However, De Sousa paid the price for spurning his two match darts in the penultimate leg, as Littler registered back-to-back maximums in a dramatic finale to advance with a 101 average.

“I’ve always said that I love playing in front of a massive crowd,” said Littler, who will now play Poland’s No 1 Krzysztof Ratajski for a place in the last 16 on Saturday evening.

“I’m glad to get through. I know that my scoring is there, so I will have a good rest tonight and come here tomorrow and practise those doubles.”

Masters champion Bunting also came through through a last-leg shootout against Belgian No 1 Van den Bergh, averaging 99 to deny the newly-crowned UK Open champion.

Peter Wright beat Geert De Vos 6-2 to advance to a meeting with Michael van Gerwen, while Nathan Aspinall crashed out with a 6-3 loss to Richard Veenstra.

James Wade will face world No 1 and reigning world champion Luke Humphries after fighting back from 4-2 down to defeat Raymond van Barneveld 6-5.

Sky News
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