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James Wade v Jose De Sousa: Grand Slam of Darts 2020 final preview – Machine and Special One vie for glory

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PDC Order of Merit following the Grand Slam of Darts: De Sousa enters the top 16

De Sousa secures dream debut triumph at the Grand Slam of Darts

Jamie Shaw in Grand Slam of Darts 24 Nov 2020
De Sousa lifts the Eric Bristow Trophy (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Jose De Sousa landed his first major title in fairy-tale fashion in his debut Grand Slam of Darts campaign with a 16-12 victory over James Wade in the final in Coventry.

Less than two years after securing a Tour Card at Qualifying School, De Sousa continued his meteoric rise to the top echelons of the PDC by becoming the first Portuguese winner of a televised PDC ranking event.

De Sousa produced a clinical mid-game burst to break clear of Wade, before close out victory in breath-taking style with a 158 checkout.

The 46-year-old bursting into tears of joy upon hitting the winning double as he denied Wade a first Grand Slam success.

“This is a dream come true, I can’t explain my feelings in this moment,” said De Sousa.

“This is the greatest day of my life. When I hit the 158 finish I knew I was going to cry straight away.

“There is so much work behind me to get to this position. I am so thankful to everyone.

“Five years ago I was on my sofa at home watching the guys play on TV and I wished that maybe some day I can play against these wonderful players.

“It was a big change I made to my life in turning professional but look at me now. It’s amazing and I’m very proud of myself.”

De Sousa out-scored Wade from start to finish, firing in fifteen 180s averaging 99.95 to his opponent’s 94.26.

The wait for a tenth televised PDC title goes on for Wade, who was left visibly frustrated at the conclusion of his third unsuccessful Grand Slam final appearance.

“In the final I was rubbish. He outplayed me by a million miles,” Wade admitted.

“It hurts when you don’t play well and it hurts when you don’t contest someone. I’m still confused as to why that happened.

“I’m finding it hard to be positive after that, it’s very disappointing. Jose played a lot better than me. The better man won on the day.”

A nervy start to his first televised final saw De Sousa miss nine doubles across the opening three legs, affording Wade chances which he took to move 3-0 up.

De Sousa, though, responded strongly with a break of throw and grew into the contest, with a 130 checkout seeing him level at five-all.

From there, the Portuguese ace took out 70 to lead for the first time at 6-5 and never looked back as he won four of the next six legs to create daylight at 10-7.

The following leg saw De Sousa open up with six perfect darts, but a stunning 161 checkout from Wade ensured a vital hold of throw and reduced the gap to two legs.

The next two legs went the way of De Sousa to lead 12-8, but Wade won the next two to halve the arrears and apply pressure to his opponent.

However, De Sousa showed no signs of surrendering his advantage and pulled away from Wade before landing a 158 checkout to seal the biggest win of his career so far.

The win catapults De Sousa up to 15th on the PDC Order of Merit, having gone into the tournament as world number 34.