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Van den Bergh pips Humphries in last-leg epic to win UK Open

Dimitri Van den Bergh dashed Luke Humphries’ hopes of claiming four consecutive PDC ranking titles as he won a stunning UK Open final in a last-leg decider.

Humphries was looking to add the trophy to the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship crowns he lifted in late 2023 and the Alexandra Palace title he scooped in January of this year – and had two match darts after fighting back from 7-2 and 10-8 down.

However, the world No 1 was wayward on double 16 and double eight and Van den Bergh eventually triumphed 11-10 on tops after previously squandering six match darts as he secured his second major PDC accolade and first in front of a crowd, with his 2020 World Matchplay win coming during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luke Humphries (PA Images)
Image: Luke Humphries missed out on a fourth straight PDC ranking title

The Belgian’s 8-4 lead, secured thanks to a majestic 130 against the throw as he pinned two treble 20s and a double five, evaporated with Humphries restoring parity at 8-8, before Van den Bergh won the next two legs to move one away from victory.

Humphries rallied again as Van den Bergh wobbled but the Dream Maker pounced on Cool Hand’s missed arrows and snapped his opponent’s winning run in ranking tournaments at three.

Van den Bergh: Victory is for my late grandad

UK Open champion Dimitri Van den Bergh:

“[Luke] showed again why is he the world champion. There was a moment when it was 10-8 and I was like ‘I’m one leg away, I can win this’, and I lost it but all of a sudden, it turned around.

“My grandad died two years ago and this is my first major win since. This is gold and it’s for him. You win some, you lose some, you have got to dig deep and keep trying.”

Beaten finalist Luke Humphries:

“I have had a long five days on the road, I am absolutely shattered. I was very lucky to get two match darts, I will obviously be gutted because I missed them.

“But I did my best with the way I was feeling. I give everything, I really didn’t play well. I am proud of the way I played.”

Humphries beaten by Van den Bergh – eventually

Humphries had entered the final as red-hot favourite after romping to a 10-2 victory over Stephen Bunting in the last eight and then razing Ricky Evans 11-2 in the semi-finals but was blown away early on by Van den Bergh.

Van den Bergh surged into a 4-1 lead, clinching an early break in the second leg as he took out 124 on the bull, before breaking again and then holding to carve out a 7-2 advantage.

Image: Humphries rallied from 7-2 and 10-8 down before being pipped in the last leg in Minehead

Humphries responded only to see Van den Bergh stretch four legs ahead once more as he took out that staggering 130 but back came Humphries again with four legs on the trot, including a 116 finish to break in the 15th leg.

The momentum soon shifted back to the Belgian only for him to waste five match darts before Humphries nailed the bull to stay alive, while a sixth match dart then came and went for Van den Bergh as Humphries levelled at 10-10.

Van den Bergh eventually scraped home, backing up his 10-5 victory over Martin Lukeman in the quarter-finals and 11-6 success over Luke Littler’s conqueror Damon Heta in the last four.

Littler knocked out by Heta in quarter-finals

Luke Littler (PA Images)
Image: Luke Littler was beaten by Damon Heta in the quarter-finals

Littler’s hopes of making the UK Open his first major PDC title were extinguished as he lost 10-8 to Heta in a quarter-final of the utmost quality.

Heta averaged 106 and Littler 104, with the former sealing victory on double 16 in the 18th leg after Littler missed two darts at double 10 to force a decider.

Humphries and Littler will now look to rebound on Night Six of the Premier League in Brighton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm.

Premier League, Night Six – Thursday, March 7

Quarter-finals
Luke Humphries vs Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross vs Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall vs Luke Littler
Michael Smith vs Peter Wright

Cool Hand and The Nuke are yet to win a Premier League evening so far this season, although both have lost to Michael Van Gerwen in finals – Humphries in Glasgow, Littler in Berlin.

Humphries will play Gerwyn Price in the quarter-finals in Brighton, with Littler tackling Night Five champion Nathan Aspinall, Van Gerwen taking on UK Open quarter-finalist Rob Cross and Michael Smith battling the winless Peter Wright.

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