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UK Open Darts 2024 | Day Three Preview and Order of Play

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PDC Order of Merit update following the 2024 UK Open | Van den Bergh climbs into top eight

Dimitri van den Bergh denies Luke Humphries in dramatic decider to claim UK Open title

Jamie Shaw in UK Open 03 Mar 2024
Van den Bergh claims his second major title (Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

Dimitri van den Bergh secured his second major title in dramatic fashion at the 2024 UK Open with an 11-10 victory over Luke Humphries in the final.

Four years on from his World Matchplay triumph behind closed doors, Van den Bergh added a second televised ranking title in front of a capacity crowd at the Butlins Minehead Resort.

The Belgian star looked to be coasting towards a crushing victory when he took a 7-2 lead in the final, only to squander six match darts in a dramatic climax as Humphries battled back from the brink.

However, Van den Bergh survived two match darts from Humphries in a thrilling final leg, before regaining his composure to clinch the £110,000 top prize.

“Luke showed again why he is a World Champion,” reflected an emotional Van den Bergh, who moves up to seventh in the Order of Merit.

“I lost my composure. I knew Luke wasn’t going to make it easy, but you have to dig deep, and all of a sudden it turned around.

“My Grandad passed away two years ago, and that’s my first major win since then, so it’s a really special moment for me.”

Van den Bergh endured a disappointing 2023 campaign which culminated in a second round defeat at the World Championship, and he believes sports psychology has played a crucial role in his return to winning ways.

“I’ve always been a bit uncertain when it comes to sports psychology,” he added.

“I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do for me.

“I thought it was probably my last choice if I wanted to get stronger, but I said let’s give it a go, and right here right now, I really feel that I made the right choice.”

Van den Bergh began his campaign with victory over Brendan Dolan on Friday, before overcoming 2007 runner-up Vincent van der Voort and Welsh star Jonny Clayton to reach the Last Eight.

He then saw off Martin Lukeman 10-5 on Sunday afternoon and his former housemate Damon Heta 11-6 in the semi-finals.

The Belgian raced into a 4-1 lead in the final, with a clinical 124 finish on the bull in leg two helping him to establish early daylight.

The 29-year-old stretched his advantage to 7-2 after maintaining his ruthlessness on the outer ring, although Humphries responded with back-to-back legs to threaten a fightback.

Van den Bergh restored his four-leg buffer with a brilliant 130 checkout in leg 12, defying six perfect darts from the world number one to move 8-4 up.

Humphries looked to be staring down the barrel, but he came back off the canvas with a run of four straight legs to level proceedings, aided by a 116 checkout in leg 15.

The pendulum swung once more as Van den Bergh converted clinical 97 and 76 finishes to move to the cusp of victory at 10-8, but the drama did not end there.

The Belgian squandered six match darts across the next two legs as Humphries profited to force a decider, before remarkably missing two match darts of his own.

However, the World Champion was unable to complete the fightback, and Van den Bergh capitalised, producing a nerveless 64 checkout to secure his fourth PDC ranking title.

Humphries fell agonisingly short in his bid for a maiden UK Open title, which brought an end to his remarkable 24-match winning run in televised ranking events.

The 2021 runner-up dropped just 18 legs in reaching the final, producing a trio of ton-plus averages in the process.

The world number one defied ten 180s from Dirk van Duijvenbode to triumph in a high-quality opener on Friday, and he continued his progress with emphatic wins over Benjamin Drue Reus and Mervyn King on Saturday.

Humphries then stormed past Stephen Bunting and Ricky Evans on Sunday, averaging 102 to demolish Masters champion Bunting, before hammering Evans 11-2 in the semi-finals.

“I didn’t play well in the final, but I gave everything,” admitted Humphries.

“I was very fortunate to get two match darts at the end there, and obviously I am gutted, but Dimitri played a good game and hit a couple of big shots at the right time.

“The crowd were amazing towards me, so I owed it to them to give it everything, and I’m really proud of the way I played again this weekend.”

Earlier in the day, Heta prevailed in one of the greatest matches ever seen on the UK Open stage, celebrating a memorable 10-8 win over teenage sensation Luke Littler.

An astonishing start to proceedings saw Heta trailing 4-3 with a 124 average, but the Australian’s relentless brilliance eventually powered him through to a maiden televised ranking semi-final.

Evans also broke new ground in Minehead, claiming the scalp of 2018 World Champion Rob Cross in the quarter-finals to advance to his first big stage semi-final, which catapults him to the brink of the world’s top 40.

UK Open 2024 Day Three Results

Sunday March 3

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Stephen Bunting 2-10 Luke Humphries
Ricky Evans 10-7 Rob Cross
Damon Heta 10-8 Luke Littler
Martin Lukeman 5-10 Dimitri van den Bergh

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Dimitri van den Bergh 11-6 Damon Heta
Luke Humphries 11-2 Ricky Evans

Final
Dimitri van den Bergh 11-10 Luke Humphries

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