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UK Open: Dimitri van den Berg defeats Luke Humphries to win the title

UK Open: Dimitri van den Berg defeats Luke Humphries to win the title

  • Written by Phil Cartwright
  • BBC Sport

Image source, Kieran Cleaves/PDC

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Dimitri van den Berg's previous best performance at the UK Open was reaching the semi-finals in 2023.

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

Van den Berg led 10-8 but missed six darts at doubles to seal victory before Humphreys got back on level terms.

Humphries had his own darts to seal the title in the decider.

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

Van den Berg, who beat Australian Damon Hita 11-6 in the semi-finals, 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 him score an impressive 130 points in the second leg, and did not trail at any point in the final.

Five darts were missed in the 19th leg, as was another attempt to win it in the 20th leg, but he took the deciding set with his first dart over the double top to claim the £110,000 top prize.

Van den Berg credited his work with a sports psychologist as a key factor in his victory.

He was cheered after winning the double and lifting the trophy, but had previously angered Minehead fans.

At 10-8, he took several seconds to adjust to his cocktail table before throwing the ball in the game.

He told ITV4: “There was a moment when I was 10-8 and I said to myself 'I'm one foot away, I can win this' and I lost it. I just lost it. I lost my courage, but then everything suddenly turned around.”

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

“I got to the 19th round of the match, and that's the nonchalant way he puts his hand in his pocket.

“He ruined what was a great final. He's not breaking any rules. It's bordering on the skill of playing, but that's what it is.”

Humphreys, who also lost in the 2021 UK Open final, said: “I've had five long days on the road and I'm absolutely devastated.

“I was down a little bit in the semifinals, but when you get to the final, you don't know if that energy is going to come back or not.

“I was very lucky to get the dart in the end. Obviously I'm going to be frustrated because I missed the dart, but Dimitri played a good game. Two big shots at the start were really painful, but I did my best.”

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