Damon Heta claimed a first televised title in fairy-tale fashion at the 2019 Brisbane Masters as he edged out Rob Cross in a last-leg decider to mark a dream 32nd birthday.
Heta, the DPA ranked number one, came into the event as a 125/1 rank outsider, but continued the form which led him to the BDO Australian Open title a week earlier as he etched his name into World Series folklore.
Heta had denied James Wade in a last-leg decider in Friday’s First Round and proved that upset was no flash in the pan as he stunned Gary Anderson with an 8-6 victory in the Quarter-Finals.
The Australian ace then recovered from 4-1 down to defeat his compatriot Simon Whitlock by the same scoreline, before dethroning defending champion Cross in a nail-biting final.
“This is unreal, it is mental,” said a shell-shocked Heta. “I think it’s going to take a while to sink in, I’m really lost for words.
“You dream about this stuff when you watch it on TV and I’m just taking it all in.
“I have just grown throughout this whole tournament. I have worked hard for this and it’s paid off in the end and I am just super stoked.
“I know what I can do and how good I can be and today I showed the world.
“To do that in front of an Australian crowd was amazing and hopefully I’ll be able to come over to the UK soon and when I do people better watch out.”
Cross, who was eyeing back-to-back televised titles following on from last month’s World Matchplay success, opened up a 3-1 lead in the final despite a 101 checkout from Heta in leg two.
A key turning point then saw ‘Voltage’ miss four darts at doubles to allow Heta to break back, before the home qualifier produced a magnificent 164 checkout to draw level.
Cross responded with a 104 checkout to regain the lead before going on to finish 82 for a 5-4 advantage.
A 90 checkout saw the world number two establish a two-leg cushion but only for Heta to take out 75 and 68 in consecutive legs to make it six apiece.
Cross landed double eight to move to the verge of victory but missed double ten for a 128 checkout in the following leg as Heta seized his rerprieve and forced a decider.
The Australian then produced an outstanding 170 setup shot to leave 32 and pinned double 16 without hesitation to clinch a memorable victory on home soil.
Heta claims the £20,000 winner’s cheque – the biggest of his career to date – and is now assured of a place in November’s World Series Finals.
Cross was left to rue what might have been, and admitted: “I’ve played well this week and have been feeling good since Blackpool but fair play to Damon he deserved it tonight.
“I had my chances but that means nothing if you don’t take them so I just have to say well done to Damon and prepare myself for Melbourne.”
Cross had begun the day with a comfortable 8-4 win over Raymond van Barneveld before thrashing Daryl Gurney 8-3 with a 105 average and a 170 checkout along the way.
Heta punished a staggering 24 missed darts at doubles in dumping out Anderson and jumped upon a mid-game slump from Whitlock – who started the day by whitewashing an out of sorts Kyle Anderson.
Gurney secured a fourth televised win over Michael van Gerwen in the space of nine months as he prevailed 8-5 in the Quarter-Finals, extending the Dutchman’s title drought to over 80 days.
The World Series road-show now heads to Melbourne for the third staging of the Melbourne Masters, which takes place from August 16-17.
Brisbane Darts Masters 2019 Results
Saturday August 10
Kyle Anderson 0-8 Simon Whitlock
Damon Heta 8-6 Gary Anderson
Rob Cross 8-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney 8-5 Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock 6-8 Damon Heta
Rob Cross 8-3 Daryl Gurney
Damon Heta 8-7 Rob Cross