De Sousa doubles his title tally for 2021 at Players Championship 14

Jose De Sousa secured his second title of 2021 at Players Championship 14 with an 8-6 win over Michael van Gerwen in the final.

The Portuguese star followed up his Players Championship 9 triumph in April by claiming a further £10,000 title with a superb display in the second of four days at Super Series 4 in Milton Keynes.

De Sousa’s success also saw him extend Van Gerwen’s wait a first title of the season as he held firm in a thrilling final.

Van Gerwen led 3-2 in the decider but De Sousa surged clear  with three straight legs to take an advantage he would not relinquish.

De Sousa had taken out 120 early in the contest, with Van Gerwen’s 95 finish which featured two double 19s bettered by a sensational 170 checkout in leg nine and combinations of 100 and 112 to keep his hopes alive at 7-6 behind.

The Dutchman also left 24 in his bid to force a deciding leg, but De Sousa held his nerve with a 108 finish on tops to secure the title.

“I’m very happy to win today,” said De Sousa. “It is an honour to play against a player like Michael. He always tries to make the best game.

“I’ve shown to the fans and everybody involved in darts that I have the darts to play with these players. For me, it’s really amazing what I’m doing in the PDC, unbelievable.”

De Sousa had averaged an incredible 127 in his First Round win on Monday and produced a further four ton-plus averages 24 hours later on his way to glory.

After registering early wins over David Evans and Jamie Hughes, De Sousa came from 5-4 down to defeat Rob Cross and then overcame World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 with a 105.5 average.

A see-saw Semi-Final saw him defeat Gabriel Clemens 7-5, with the German ace coming from 4-0 down to lead 5-4 – landing three successive 13-darters in the process – before the Portuguese regained his range to close out the win.

Van Gerwen’s route to the final was less problematic as the three-time World Champion posted 106 averages against Rusty-Jake Rodriguez in Round Two and in a 7-2 Semi-Final win over Gary Anderson.

He also whitewashed Sean Fisher and defeated Luke Humphries, Chris Dobey and Ted Evetts on his way to the final, but saw his bid to claim a first title since last November’s Players Championship Finals fall short.

Anderson enjoyed his best run of 2021 so far as he reached the Semi-Finals, seeing off Monday’s winner Joe Cullen with a 106 average in the Quarter-Finals.

Clemens was a ProTour semi-finalist for a third time this year following his run in the second of four Players Championship events this week.

World Champion Gerwyn Price exited in the first round to Luke Woodhouse, while world number two Peter Wright was a second round casualty at the hands of Josh Payne.

Tuesday’s event also featured two nine-darters, as Jim McEwan and Geert Nentjes achieved perfection in their first round ties with Raymond van Barneveld and Kirk Shepherd respectively.

Nathan Aspinall has been withdrawn from the remaining events at Super Series 4 after testing positive for Covid-19, while Keane Barry has also been withdrawn after coming into close contact with Aspinall on Monday.

WATCH THE PDC SUPER SERIES 4 STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship 14 Results

Tuesday June 15

First Round
William O’Connor 6-3 Kevin Doets
Steve West 6-3 Ryan Searle
Niels Zonneveld 6-5 Jason Lowe
Scott Mitchell 6-2 Daryl Gurney
Eddie Lovely 6-4 Berry van Peer
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Bradley Brooks
James Wade 6-2 Boris Koltsov
Mike De Decker 6-5 Jake Jones
Mervyn King 6-2 Mark McGeeney
Darius Labanauskas 6-4 Keegan Brown
Gary Blades 6-3 Devon Petersen
Alan Tabern 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Steve Beaton 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Gary Anderson 6-4 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Sean Fisher
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Luke Humphries 6-2 José Justicia
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-1 Danny Baggish
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Andy Boulton 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Chris Dobey 6-4 Ricky Evans
Michael Smith 6-1 Ryan Murray
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Alan Soutar
Derk Telnekes 6-3 Glen Durrant
Ted Evetts 6-2 Peter Hudson
Damon Heta 6-5 Martin Atkins
Ron Meulenkamp 6-2 Matt Jackson
Ross Smith 6-2 Jason Heaver
Geert Nentjes 6-0 Kirk Shepherd – *Nentjes hits a nine-darter*
David Evans 6-3 Kai Fan Leung
Jamie Hughes 6-1 Brett Claydon
Joe Murnan 6-4 Martin Schindler
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Ian White
Lisa Ashton 6-5 Steve Lennon
Rob Cross 6-0 Boris Krcmar
Gordon Mathers 6-3 John Brown
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Jon Worsley
Michael Rasztovits 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 James Wilson
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Jim McEwan – *McEwan hits a nine-darter*
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Lorenzo Pronk
Darren Webster 6-2 John Michael
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Peter Jacques
William Borland 6-3 Geert De Vos
Luke Woodhouse 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Chas Barstow 6-3 Aaron Beeney
Ryan Joyce 6-0 John Henderson
Simon Whitlock 6- 1 Lewis Williams
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Steve Brown
Jeff Smith 6-1 Ryan De Vreede
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Jesus Noguera
Justin Pipe 6-2 Martin Thomas
Peter Wright 6-4 Jack Main
Josh Payne 6-2 Ciaran Teehan
Kevin McDine 6-5 Madars Razma
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Nick Kenny
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Danny Noppert
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Scott Waites
Callan Rydz 6-3 Wayne Jones
Martin Lukeman 6-1 Luc Peters

Second Round
Joe Cullen 6-2 William O’Connor
Steve West 6-2 Niels Zonneveld
Scott Mitchell 6-1 Eddie Lovely
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
James Wade 6-4 Mike De Decker
Mervyn King 6-0 Darius Labanauskas
Gary Blades 6-1 Alan Tabern
Gary Anderson 6-5 Steve Beaton
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Luke Humphries 6-3 Krzysztof Kciuk
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Chris Dobey 6-1 Andy Boulton
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Michael Smith
Ted Evetts 6-4 Derk Telnekes
Damon Heta 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Ross Smith 6-5 Geert Nentjes
José de Sousa 6-2 David Evans
Jamie Hughes 6-2 Joe Murnan
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Lisa Ashton
Rob Cross 6-2 Gordon Mathers
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Michael Rasztovits
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Darren Webster 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 William Borland
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Chas Barstow
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Jeff Smith 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Gabriel Clemens 6-0 Justin Pipe
Josh Payne 6-3 Peter Wright
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Kevin McDine
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Callan Rydz
Losers: £500

Last 32
Joe Cullen 6-3 Steve West
Scott Mitchell 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Mervyn King 6-1 James Wade
Gary Anderson 6-1 Gary Blades
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Luke Humphries
Chris Dobey 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Ted Evetts 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Ross Smith 6-3 Damon Heta
José de Sousa 6-1 Jamie Hughes
Rob Cross 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Darren Webster 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Jeff Smith
Josh Payne 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Joe Cullen 6-4 Scott Mitchell
Gary Anderson 6-0 Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Chris Dobey
Ted Evetts 6-5 Ross Smith
José de Sousa 6-5 Rob Cross
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Darren Webster
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Luke Woodhouse
Ritchie Edhouse 6-1 Josh Payne
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Gary Anderson 6-4 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Ted Evetts
José de Sousa 6-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Gary Anderson
José de Sousa 7-5 Gabriel Clemens
Losers: £3,000

Final
Jose De Sousa 8-6 Michael van Gerwen
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

Deadly De Sousa claims Players Championship Nine title at the PDC Super Series

Jose De Sousa secured his fifth PDC title at the PDC Super Series in Niedernhausen with an 8-1 demolition of Luke Humphries in the final.

The reigning Grand Slam champion produced one of the most dominant performances ever seen in a PDC ranking final as he averaged 114 to scoop the £10,000 top prize.

That display came at the end of an untouchable day of darts at the H+ Hotel as De Sousa averaged over 96 across his seven matches en route to glory.

He began the day with a 101 average in thrashing Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 before brushing aside Irish youngster Ciaran Teehan by the same scoreline.

De Sousa then overcame German duo Max Hopp and Gabriel Clemens 6-4 and 6-3 respectively before averaging 111 in a 6-2 dismantling of Brendan Dolan in the Quarter-Finals.

The Portuguese star then averaged almost 104 in his win over Poland’s Krzysztof Kciuk in the Semi-Finals.

De Sousa kicked off the final with 180s in the opening two legs before Humphries broke back in leg three.

The Premier League star registered a ten-darter to move 3-1 ahead before landing back-to-back 11-darters to pull clear.

Legs of 14 and 12 darts pushed him to the brink of a victory – which was then sealed on double ten in the following leg.

“This is a special moment,” said De Sousa. “I played well but I think my doubles were the reason I got to the final, they helped me a lot today so I’m happy.

“Right now I’m feeling in great shape, and my triple 20s are easy to make, and when you make so many triples you come to the final.

“I’m very happy for my doubles today, it was so important for me to make my doubles. I came up in my percentage in my doubles so it’s amazing for me.

“Today, the feeling was so good. This doesn’t stop here and tomorrow I have another day, and I hope I can do the same.”

Humphries reached his third final of the season, but the former World Youth Champion was again forced to settle for second prize after an outstanding display from his opponent.

He averaged 104 in seeing off Niels Zonneveld in Round Two and just shy of 100 in his Quarter-Final win over Jason Lowe, while he also defeated Kevin McDine, Nick Kenny and Mervyn King on the day.

The Semi-Finals saw Humphries meet World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, and ‘Cool Hand Luke’ came from 4-0 and 6-4 down to snatch a 7-6 win, surviving one missed match dart from the Belgian in the decider.

Van den Bergh enjoyed his best run in a ProTour event since August 2019, averaging 111 in a Quarter-Final defeat of Jamie Hughes and only dropping eight legs on his way to the Last Four.

Poland’s Kciuk enjoyed his best-ever run on the ProTour, producing two ton-plus averages on his way to the Semi-Finals.

Premier League leader Nathan Aspinall continued his strong form with a nine-dart finish against Andy Boulton, although he was eliminated in the Last 16 by Dolan.

World number two Michael van Gerwen, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode were among the notable First Round casualties in Niedernhausen.

WATCH THE PDC SUPER SERIES STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

PDC Super Series 3 – Day One Results

Saturday April 24

First Round
Josh Payne 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Martijn Kleermaker 6-2 Gary Blades
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Chris Dobey
Joe Murnan 6-5 Chas Barstow
Sebastian Bialecki 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Matthew Edgar 6-4 José Justicia
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Derk Telnekes 6-3 Lisa Ashton
Damon Heta 6-0 Berry van Peer
Ryan Murray 6-1 Rene Eidams
Ross Smith 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Jeff Smith 6-0 Karel Sedlacek
Danny Noppert 6-2 Adam Gawlas
Steve Beaton 6-4 David Evans
Jamie Hughes 6-1 John Michael
Justin Pipe 6-3 Davy Proosten
Nick Kenny 6-3 Devon Petersen
Geert Nentjes 6-1 Lorenzo Pronk
Luke Humphries 6-2 Kevin McDine
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Jon Worsley
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Kai Fan Leung
Peter Jacques 6-2 Jason Askew
Mervyn King 6-2 Lewis Williams
Martin Schindler 6-2 Florian Hempel
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Simon Whitlock 6-4 William Borland
William O’Connor 6-0 Aaron Beeney
Ryan Meikle 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Danny Baggish
Jason Lowe 6-5 Scott Williams
Luc Peters 6-4 Madars Razma
Ron Meulenkamp 6-2 Patrick van den Boogaard
José de Sousa 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Ciaran Teehan 6-5 Ted Evetts
Max Hopp 6-2 Gino Vos
Scott Mitchell 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Eddie Lovely
Kevin Doets 6-2 Jack Main
Christian Kist 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Pero Ljubic 6-2 Steffen Siepmann
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Steve Brown
Andy Boulton 6-2 Vincent Van der Meer
Boris Krcmar 6-2 Ryan Searle
Robert Thornton 6-4 Keane Barry
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Michael Rasztovits
Boris Koltsov 6-4 Mike De Decker
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Harald Leitinger
Geert De Vos 6-3 Martin Thomas
Michael Smith 6-1 Ryan De Vreede
Peter Hudson 6-2 Michal Smejda
Steve Lennon 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Gordon Mathers 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Rob Cross 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Adam Hunt 6-5 John Brown
Alan Tabern 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Alan Soutar 6-0 Wayne Jones
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Zoran Lerchbacher
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Michael Unterbuchner
Luke Woodhouse 6-2 Ricky Evans
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Mike Warburton 6-4 Ian White
Robert Marijanovic 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Lukas Wenig 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-4 John Henderson

Second Round
Martijn Kleermaker 6-1 Josh Payne
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Joe Murnan
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Sebastian Bialecki
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Derk Telnekes
Damon Heta 6-0 Ryan Murray
Ross Smith 6-2 Jeff Smith
Danny Noppert 6-3 Steve Beaton
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Justin Pipe
Nick Kenny 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Luke Humphries 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Peter Jacques 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Mervyn King 6-5 Martin Schindler
Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Ryan Meikle 6-1 William O’Connor
Jason Lowe 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Ron Meulenkamp 6-2 Luc Peters
José de Sousa 6-1 Ciaran Teehan
Max Hopp 6-4 Scott Mitchell
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Kevin Doets
Christian Kist 6-3 Pero Ljubic
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Andy Boulton – *Aspinall hits a nine-darter*
Robert Thornton 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Boris Koltsov
Geert De Vos 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Michael Smith 6-1 Peter Hudson
Steve Lennon 6-0 Gordon Mathers
Adam Hunt 6-2 Rob Cross
Alan Tabern 6-4 Alan Soutar
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Mike Warburton 6-5 Robert Marijanovic
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-5 Lukas Wenig
Losers: £500

Last 32
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Martijn Kleermaker
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Ross Smith 6-5 Damon Heta
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Danny Noppert
Luke Humphries 6-3 Nick Kenny
Mervyn King 6-4 Peter Jacques
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Jason Lowe 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
José de Sousa 6-4 Max Hopp
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Christian Kist
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Robert Thornton
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Geert De Vos
Steve Lennon 6-1 Michael Smith
Alan Tabern 6-3 Adam Hunt
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-3 Mike Warburton
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Ross Smith
Luke Humphries 6-1 Mervyn King
Jason Lowe 6-0 Ryan Meikle
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Alan Tabern 6-1 Steve Lennon
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Jamie Hughes
Luke Humphries 6-4 Jason Lowe
Jose de Sousa 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-5 Alan Tabern
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Luke Humphries 7-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jose de Sousa 7-2 Krzysztof Kciuk
Losers: £3,000

Final
Jose de Sousa 8-1 Luke Humphries
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

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

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PDC DARTS ODDS & SPECIALS (18+)

Nine-dart De Sousa enjoys dream European Championship debut as Kleermaker knocks out Cross

Jose de Sousa marked his European Championship debut in style with a nine-dart finish in Oberhausen on Thursday, while Martijn Kleermaker knocked out defending champion Rob Cross.

De Sousa, who claimed European Grand Prix glory a fortnight ago, maintained his blistering spell of form in a 6-3 victory over Jeffrey de Zwaan.

The highlight came in leg two as he fired in a 180 and 177 before taking out 144, pausing to size up his final dart at double 12 before hitting the bed to achieve perfection for the first time in a televised event.

“It is amazing to hit my first 9-darter on the television,” said De Sousa. “This feeling is very special but it is more important to win.

“I am very proud today – this is fantastic for me. I am always trying to improve but I am enjoying my game and I will do everything to get better.

“It is nice for people to say I am one of the best players in the world at the moment but for me it’s not true. I have to keep working hard and keep winning.”

De Sousa now plays Jonny Clayton in Friday’s Second Round after the Welshman survived two missed match darts from Max Hopp in their 11-leg thriller.

The German ace had earlier taken out 170 on his way to a 5-3 advantage, but was unable to close out the win as he missed a dart at the bull in leg ten and a further match dart at tops in the decider.

Reigning champion Cross was a high-profile casualty on the opening day at the König Pilsener Arena with a 6-3 loss to Dutch debutant Kleermaker.

Kleermaker came from a leg down to finish 74, 97, 107 and 100 on his way to a 5-1 lead before holding off Cross’ late rally to secure a memorable win.

“I always believe I can win – if I get everything right then I know I can beat some of the best players but it always depends on the day,” said Kleermaker.

“I know what I can do and I just need to be more consistent now to show everyone else.”

Kleermaker now plays South African star Devon Petersen, with the recent German Championship winner proving too strong for the returning Andy Hamilton with a 6-1 victory.

Number one seed Joe Cullen also exited the event as William O’Connor came from 2-1 down to win five of the next six legs in taking victory to set up a tie with Jamie Hughes.

O’Connor came into the event as 32nd seed in the absence of Glen Durrant following a positive test for Covid-19, and admitted: “Obviously Glen should be here but I can’t think about that – I just have to do what I can to win.

“I’m not going to look too far ahead of myself and to beat the number one seed is good, but I’m just going to take it as it comes. I’m lucky to be here and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Hughes produced an 11-darter, featuring two 180s, in the deciding leg of his tie with Dave Chisnall, who led 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4 but missed one dart at the bull for victory in a dramatic finale.

Four-time winner Michael van Gerwen averaged 103 and finished 50 percent of his darts at a double to open his challenge for a fifth European Championship title in style with a 6-1 win over Darius Labanauskas.

“I feel like I did pretty well today,” said Van Gerwen. “I’ve not been working on anything specific but I know I’ve not been playing my A game or even my B or C game so I know I need to improve.

“The pressure is always on my shoulders and people expect me to do well all the time but that is because of how well I have done in the past so that is ok. Feeling good like I am now, I’m going to be dangerous.”

The world number one now faces Ian White, who took out finishes of 164 and 143 as he swept into the last 16 with a 6-2 defeat of Mervyn King, landing six doubles from 11 attempts.

Gerwyn Price’s bid to claim a second successive TV ranking title began in outstanding fashion as he hit six doubles from seven attempts to see off Kim Huybrechts 6-1, averaging 103.68 in the process.

The Welshman now takes on World Champion Peter Wright in round two, after the Scot averaged 104.73 in his 6-3 win over Gabriel Clemens, coming from 2-1 down to see off the German with a fine display.

Wright had sat out the last two weekends of European Tour action and admitted: “I feel refreshed and ready to go again.

“I don’t mind having to play Gerwyn early in the event because if you’re going to win a tournament you have to be ready to beat everyone, I’m looking forward to it.

“There are so many big tournaments coming up and loads of darts so the motivation is definitely there to start playing my best again.”

Recent World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode maintained his big-stage form with a 6-0 whitewash of Danny Noppert, and now plays Michael Smith after the world number four came from 3-0 down to defeat Ross Smith 6-5.

James Wade, the 2018 champion, edged out Irish ace Steve Lennon 6-5 in a tight battle and now plays Nathan Aspinall – who overcame Dutch debutant Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3.

Steve West was another winner in a deciding leg, finishing a 13-darter to complete a 6-5 win over Krzysztof Ratajski, who paid for missing eight darts to break throw during the tie as all 11 legs went with the throw.

Mensur Suljovic, the 2016 runner-up, will now play West in Round Two after the Austrian star produced a dominant display to defeat a below-par Daryl Gurney 6-2.

WATCH THE EUROPEAN DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

European Darts Championship 2020 Results

Thursday October 29

First Round

Jamie Hughes 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Krzysztof Ratajski 5-6 Steve West
Mervyn King 2-6 Ian White
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan – *De Sousa hits a nine-darter*
James Wade 6-5 Steve Lennon
Devon Petersen 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Michael Smith 6-5 Ross Smith
Danny Noppert 0-6 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Joe Cullen 3-6 William O’Connor
Rob Cross 3-6 Martijn Kleermaker
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Max Hopp
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Peter Wright 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Daryl Gurney

Sensational De Sousa claims European Grand Prix glory

Jose De Sousa secured his first European Tour title in magnificent fashion with an 8-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the final in Sindelfingen on Sunday.

Portugal’s number one lived up to his “Special One” nickname by going the distance in only his third European Tour campaign since joining the circuit in 2019.

The £25,000 title sees him climb six places to 37th on the PDC Order of Merit as well as clinching a debut spot in next month’s Grand Slam.

“It can’t describe my feelings because it’s unbelievable,” said De Sousa. “I’m really emotional.

“Every title I win, it’s a dream because it’s so difficult, but this is my biggest title and I’m very, very happy.

“I thank the crowd, they were wonderful and this title is for me and all of them. I want to share it with them and all the people who support me; my management and my family.

“I can do anything right now, that’s what I think. It doesn’t matter who I play against, I just play my game. I know that I can do it and I have so much confidence in my game.”

Having whitewashed Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko to begin his challenge on Saturday, De Sousa followed up with a 6-3 Third Round defeat of World Grand Prix winner Gerwyn Price.

He then averaged 98 in a 6-4 Quarter-Final defeat of Darius Labanauskas, before surviving one match dart from Ian White in a thrilling Semi-Final decider.

De Sousa averaged almost 106 in the final, finishing eight doubles from 13 attempts and hitting seven 180s in a stunning performance.

The pair traded 84 finishes in the opening two legs and were level at two apiece before De Sousa reeled off three in a row, including an 11-darter to break, and finishes of 87 and 86.

Van Gerwen replied with two 14-darters in the next three legs, but a huge 146 checkout from De Sousa moved him 7-4 up before he wrapped up the win by taking out 88 for a 12-darter.

Van Gerwen survived missed match darts from both Vincent van der Voort and Nathan Aspinall on Sunday, but hit top form with a 170 checkout and seven doubles from 11 attempts in his 7-1 Semi-Final rout of Mensur Suljovic.

However, the Dutchman was afforded only five darts at a double by De Sousa in the final – hitting four – as he missed out on a first European Tour title of 2020 and a 33rd in total.

Suljovic staged a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down to defeat Jamie Hughes 6-5 before whitewashing Rob Cross as he reached his third Semi-Final of the season.

Defending champion White defeated his close friend Michael Smith and Dutch ace Maik Kuivenhoven en route to the Semi-Finals.

Aspinall and Darius Labanauskas joined Cross and Kuivenhoven in losing out at the Quarter-Final stage, while newly-crowned Premier League champion Glen Durrant lost out 6-3 to Kuivenhoven in the Last 16.

The PDC European Tour season concludes next weekend with the International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany, from October 23-25.

Following the International Open, the top 32 players from the European Order of Merit will form the field for the European Championship the following weekend.

WATCH EUROPEAN TOUR DARTS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

European Darts Grand Prix 2020 Results

Sunday October 18

Afternoon Session

Third Round
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Glen Durrant
Ian White 6-2 Michael Smith
Darius Labanauskas 6-2 Joe Cullen
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Rob Cross 6-1 Martijn Kleermaker
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session

Quarter-Finals
Ian White 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jose De Sousa 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Nathan Aspinall

Semi-Finals
Jose De Sousa 7-6 Ian White
Michael van Gerwen 7-1 Mensur Suljovic

Final
Jose De Sousa 8-4 Michael van Gerwen