James Wade and Jose De Sousa will battle it out for the right to become the latest new name on…
James Wade and Jose De Sousa will battle it out for the right to become the latest new name on the Grand Slam of Darts trophy in Coventry on Tuesday night.
Two formidable competitors with contrasting levels of experience, Wade and De Sousa have battled through a formidable field of 32 players to set up a date with destiny at the Ricoh Arena.
For Wade, it will be a third crack at Grand Slam glory, having fallen short in the final in both 2010 and 2016, while De Sousa is hoping to round off a dream debut by claiming his first major silverware.
Wade may feel he has unfinished business in this competition a decade on from squandering an 8-0 lead in an eventual 16-12 defeat to Scott Waites in the final at the Wolves Civic.
The Aldershot left-hander is vying for his tenth PDC televised title 13 years on from his first at the 2007 World Matchplay and two years on from his most recent at the 2018 European Championship.
Runner-up in last month’s recent European Championship, ‘The Machine’ appears rebooted and refocused having previously gone more than a year without reaching a major ranking Quarter-Final.
Wade dropped only seven legs in topping his group with maximum points, before thrashing Ian White 10-4 with a 98 average and overcoming Damon Heta 16-13 with a clinical 101.6 average.
Despite being either behind or level for entire match, Wade timed his run to perfection to edge out Dimitri van den Bergh 16-15 in a Semi-Final thriller on Monday.
He is guaranteed to be ranked world number seven regardless of his result in the final, affirming himself among the sport’s elite as the third most successful player in PDC history.
De Sousa, meanwhile, has stormed into his first major final less than two years after securing a Tour Card at Qualifying School.
De Sousa has already made history as the first Portuguese player to reach a PDC major final and is now gearing up for the biggest match of his career to date.
The three-time PDC ranking event winner has continued his meteoric rise up the world rankings which will see him reach at least 20th come the end of the night, or 15th if he were to take the title.
The Special One finished runner-up behind Michael Smith in Group C but went on to defeat ‘Bully Bully’ 16-14 in an epic Quarter-Final tussle, having fended off a spirited Dave Chisnall revival in the Last 16.
He then pulled off a superb 16-12 success over a resurgent Simon Whitlock in the Last Four, taking his tournament average to just shy of 98.
De Sousa is bidding for his first win over Wade at the third attempt, with ‘The Machine’ having claimed back-to-back victories in Players Championship events, including a final in 2019.
Wade goes into the final as the 4/5 favourite with sponsors BoyleSports, with De Sousa rated at Evens to lift the Eric Bristow Trophy.
The final gets underway from 6pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 31 legs.
Wade vs De Sousa – Player’s View:
Wade: “Now that I’m in the final, I won’t be nervous, I’m just going to relax and enjoy myself.
“I’m going to come out and smash.
“I’ve been there and done it many times, it’s not missing from my resumé, I haven’t played well enough to win this in the past.
“Jose is phenomenal. I don’t think he cares what he’s doing or how he’s doing it, he enjoys darts and is a big scorer and a great finisher – but I’m not bad!”
De Sousa: “This a feeling I cannot describe – my best moment in darts. I think I deserve this final.
“It’s a dream come true and I feel like my heart will explode – it’s amazing.
“I’m really happy for my fans and everyone who’s backed me, my sponsors and my manager.
“I left my job last year and this year I’m really happy to make a place in the PDC, I’ve worked so hard.
“This year has been difficult for everybody and it’s not easy – in two months I’ve had three days in my home. But all the people in Portugal and Spain have supported me and I’m very proud.”