James Wade clinched his third UK Open title in as many decades with an 11-5 victory over Luke Humphries in…
James Wade clinched his third UK Open title in as many decades with an 11-5 victory over Luke Humphries in the final in Milton Keynes.
Having initially won the UK Open in Bolton in 2008 and 2011, Wade ended a ten-year wait for his hat-trick by denying 26-year-old Humphries his first major title.
A memorable weekend for ‘The Machine’ saw him average 99.7 for the tournament, including a 102.5 average in the final, sealing the £100,000 top prize.
Wade’s success sees him join Phil Taylor in winning televised PDC titles across three decades and means he becomes only the third player in PDC history to enter double figures of televised trophies.
His first major triumph since November 2018 was secured with a typically clinical display in the final against Humphries – who knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the semis with a magnificent display but was unable to repeat the feat in the decider.
Experience won the day as Wade made the former World Youth Champion pay for 20 missed darts at doubles in a one-sided affair.
“To win TV titles across three decades is something I’m very proud of,” said Wade. “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.
“I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.
“I’m here to provide stability for my son and winning these allows me to do that.
“Luke is quality, he’s a gentleman and he showed his quality in the way he dismantled Michael [van Gerwen] in the semi-finals.
“I always knew I’d win more. The way they [the PDC] select things gave me the kick up the backside I needed to prove a point.”
In reaching the final, Wade was at his unflappable best in defeating world number one Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the Last Four, having produced a 10-8 comeback win over Simon Whitlock in the afternoon’s Quarter-Finals.
Wade’s route to the title began with a scare from Ryan Joyce in Round Four as he came through a last-leg decider, before defeating Rob Cross and Germany’s Gabriel Clemens on Saturday.
Despite coming up short in his first televised final, World Youth Champion Humphries enjoyed a landmark weekend and produced a sensational 107.4 average in his 11-5 Semi-Final scalp of Van Gerwen.
Humphries, who edged out Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the Quarter-Finals, pockets the £40,000 runners-up prize moves up eight places to 33rd on the PDC Order of Merit.
“It’s been an incredible weekend for me, an emotional weekend,” he reflected.
“To reach a TV final is the most unbelievable feeling. I think James is the best player in the world under pressure and he showed it in that game.
“I’m here to achieve big things in darts and this run puts me in good stead going forward.
“I want to be playing the best players week-in, week-out. I know I’ve got the game to do it. Tonight it wasn’t my night, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”
The UK Open reached its climax on Sunday after 151 players started out at the Marshall Arena on Friday.
South Africa’s Devon Petersen reached the Quarter-Finals for the first time since 2015, while Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski made it to the Last Eight for the first time before losing out to Van Gerwen.
Ladbrokes UK Open 2021 Results
Sunday March 7
Simon Whitlock 8-10 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Dave Chisnall 9-10 Luke Humphries
Krzysztof Ratajski 7-10 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries