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UK Open: Dimitri Van den Bergh victorious in thrilling last-leg decider with Luke Humphries

Dimitri Van den Bergh finally derailed the Luke Humphries juggernaut after beating him in a gripping final of the UK Open.

World number one Humphries came into the tournament at Minehead having won four of the last five major ranking tournaments, which included sealing glory at the World Championship at the start of 2024.

He was a heavy favourite to add the UK Open to his collection after a trouble-free run to the final at Butlin’s, but the Belgian won a deciding leg to claim an 11-10 victory and seal a second major title of his own.

It looked like he had blown his chance as he squandered a 7-2 lead and then missed six match darts, only to finally land his seventh after Humphries had missed chances of his own.

While Luke Littler – who was a beaten quarter-finalist at Butlin’s – has stolen the limelight since his emergence, Humphries was proving himself to be the best player around so this defeat will be a tonic to the rest of the pack.

Van den Bergh, who excelled as youth player, will be hoping this can help kickstart his career, which showed early promise when he won the 2020 World Matchplay.

He said: “First of all, he showed again why is he the world champion. There was a moment when it was 10-8 and I was like ‘I’m one leg away, I can win this’, and I lost it. I lost my gut but all of a sudden, it turned around.

“My grandad died two years ago and this is my first major win since. This is gold and it’s for him.

“You win some, you lose some, you have got to dig deep and keep trying.”

Humphries said: “I have had a long five days on the road, I am absolutely shattered. I was very lucky to get two darts, I will obviously be gutted because I missed two darts.

“But I did my best with the way I was feeling. I give everything, I really didn’t play well. I am proud of the way I played.”

With Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price all crashing out in the early rounds, it seemed prime for another battle of the Lukes in the final, but teenager Littler was ousted in the last eight by Damon Heta.

The 17-year-old has made waves in the first few months on the PDC Tour, having claimed the Bahrain Masters in his debut tournament in January and competed well in the Premier League, but leaves his first major empty handed.

He will have regrets about his defeat as, despite Heta’s incredible level, Littler rallied from 8-4 down and missed two darts at his favoured double 10 to send it to a decider.

Littler said on Instagram: “Disappointed to not make it past the quarters but was a great game. Enjoying my darts and just grateful for everything.”

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