UK Open: Dimitri van den Bergh beats Luke Humphries to win title

Dimitri van den Bergh’s previous best showing at the UK Open was his run to the semi-final in 2023

 

Dimitri van den Bergh beat world champion Luke Humphries in the deciding leg of the final to win the UK Open title for the first time.

 

Van den Bergh led 10-8 but missed six darts at doubles for victory, before Humphries fought back to level.

 

Humphries had two match darts of his own to clinch the title in the decider.

 

The Belgian then secured his second major title and his first in front of a crowd, his 2020 World Matchplay success having come during the Covid pandemic.

 

 

Van den Bergh, who beat Australia’s Damon Heta 11-6 in his semi-final, dominated the first half of the final against the world number one from England.

 

The 29-year-old led 7-2 and 8-4, helped by a superb 130 checkout in the 12th leg, and did not trail at any point in the final.

 

Five match darts were missed in the 19th leg, as was a further attempt to win it in the 20th, but he took the decider with his first dart at double top to clinch the £110,000 first prize.

 

Van den Bergh credited his work with a sports psychologist as a major factor in his win.

 

He was cheered after he landed the winning double and when lifting the trophy, but earlier drew the ire of the Minehead crowd.

 

At 10-8, he took several seconds to compose himself by his drinks table before throwing for the match.

 

He told ITV4: “There was a moment when I was 10-8 up and I was like ‘I’m one leg away, I can win this’ and I lost it. I just lost it. I lost my guts, but all of a sudden it turned around.”

 

Former PDC World Championship quarter-finalist Chris Mason, working as a pundit for the channel, said: “There was no real need for it – he just wanted to take the absolute pace out of the game and there was a shake of the head from Luke.

 

“You’re into the 19th leg of the match and it’s the nonchalant way of putting his hand in his pocket.

 

“It just ruined what was an amazing final. He’s not bending any rules. It’s verging on gamesmanship, but it is what it is.”

 

Humphries, who also lost in the UK Open final in 2021, said: “I’ve had a long five days on the road and I am absolutely shattered.

 

“I was flagging a little bit in the semi-final, but when you get into a final you don’t know if that energy will come back.

 

“I was very lucky to get two darts at the end. I’ll obviously be gutted because I missed two darts, but Dimitri played a good game. A couple of big shots at the start really hurt, but I did my best.”

 

 

Gideon Canice

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