Aussie Heta defeats darts sensation Littler in UK Open

Australia’s top darts player Damon Heta has enjoyed the biggest win of his burgeoning career by knocking out the sport’s new wonder-boy Luke Littler to reach the semi-finals of the UK Open.

 

But the Perth thrower’s best-ever individual display ended in the last-four on Sunday when he was beaten – by his housemate.

 

In a thriller at one of the sport’s biggest championships, Heta – the former roofer who’s climbed to the world’s top 10 – beat 17-year-old Littler 10-8 in the quarter-finals in Minehead.

 

 

The 36-year-old Heta, now based near the English city of Leicester, won the World Cup for Australia with Simon Whitlock in 2022, but this was the match of his life, racking up a remarkable three-dart average of 106.04 to reach his first major televised semi-final.

 

 

The Australian keeps his cool to defeat Luke Littler 10-8 in one of the best matches in UK Open history!

 

 

It continued the Australian’s brilliant start to the year following a players’ championship win in Leicester last month and put an end to Littler’s hopes of lifting his first trophy in a marquee PDC event.

 

At one point early in the match, Heta’s average topped an outlandish 125 – and it needed to against the remarkable Littler, who has brought unprecedented coverage to the sport since he reached the world championship final in January at just 16.

 

But Littler couldn’t cope with inspired showman Heta, who’d emerged on stage wearing a crazy fire hat and then lived up to his nickname of ‘The Heat’ as he forged into an 8-4 lead.

 

“Credit to myself. I was up for it, sometimes I feel like that in practice so I know what it feels like,” Heta said.

 

“To come out on top against Luke Littler, who has taken the media and darts by storm – I love him to bits, to be fair – these are the guys I need to beat.”

 

Alas for Heta, his comeuppance came from close to home, when his housemate and great friend Dimitri Van den Bergh beat him 11-6 in the semi-final en route to winning the title.

 

“I’m happy but I’m not showing it because I had to beat one of my closest friends-slash-family,” said stony-faced Belgian Van den Bergh.

 

Van den Bergh then went on to beat world champion Luke Humphries 11-10 in a last-leg decider in the final.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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