Jose de Sousa secured his second PDC title inside a month after defeating Glen Durrant 8-6 at Players Championship 28 in Dublin on Saturday.
De Sousa, who won a PDC Tour Card for the first time in January, produced a series of impressive performances to reach his third ProTour final of the year and claim the £10,000 top prize at the Citywest Convention Centre.
The former soft-tip star was a virtual unknown in the darting world prior to making his World Championship debut last year, but he became the first Portuguese player to win a PDC title three weeks ago and backed that up with a second title of 2019.
De Sousa established an early 4-1 advantage in Saturday’s final, only for Durrant to restore parity at four apiece courtesy of 16, 12 and 13-dart legs. De Sousa regained control at 6-4, although the topsy-turvy nature of the contest continued as ‘Duzza’ again responded to level up proceedings.
Nevertheless, the turning point came in the penultimate leg, as De Sousa completed a 14-dart break on tops to secure the initiative once more, although on this occasion he didn’t relinquish his advantage – pinning double 10 to seal the deal.
“The final was not my best game, it was a complicated game. This final was a moment of magic for me, a great moment,” said a delighted De Sousa. “If I play my best game I can beat almost anyone. I practice so hard, every day and I want to make a big future for myself.
“I didn’t think this was possible, I could not imagine this. This is my first year in the PDC, all I wanted was experience but this has been amazing. I will continue my work and in the future we will see what happens,” he added.
De Sousa breezed through to round three with emphatic wins over Mark Dudbridge and Stephen Burton, averaging 107.50 in a 6-1 success against the latter. The Portuguese then secured a battling win over Mark Webster, before easing past Challenge Tour star Jesus Noguera to seal his spot in the quarter-finals.
The 45-year-old registered his second ton-plus average of the afternoon to dispatch Kim Huybrechts, averaging 103.30 to overcome the Belgian 6-3. This set up a last four showdown against Mensur Suljovic, who was featuring in his second semi-final in as many days.
‘The Gentle’ averaged 107 in his opening round win over Alan Tabern, before landing a sensational nine-dart leg against Adam Hunt in round two. Suljovic also posted a ton-plus average to thrash Peter Wright, but a clinical De Sousa ran out a 7-3 winner to make it back-to-back semi-final defeats for the Austrian.
Elsewhere, Durrant performed magnificently throughout the afternoon, boasting a tournament average of 99.50. However, the three-time world champion produced his worst performance in Saturday’s showpiece, as De Sousa denied ‘Duzza’ his third Pro Tour title of 2019.
Having seen off Ross Smith in his opener, Durrant posted a mesmerising 112.70 average to whitewash Cristo Reyes 6-0, despite the Spaniard also averaging in excess of a ton.
The Teesside star then posted three more ton-plus averages to overcome the trio of Ryan Meikle, Ritchie Edhouse and Ian White – his victory over ‘The Diamond’ coming courtesy of a brace of maximums in a dramatic deciding-leg.
This set up a semi-final tussle against Saturday’s winner Gerwyn Price, with ‘The Iceman’ bidding to complete his second Players Championship double of the season.
The Welshman saw off Jonathan Worsley, Justin Pipe, Luke Humphries, Jonny Clayton and James Wade, although the Grand Slam champion was edged out in a hard-fought affair against Durrant, as the three-time world champion fired in a nerveless 14-darter in the decider to prevail.
Dave Chisnall, Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock were among the high-profile names to depart the tournament in round one, whilst three of the world’s top four were condemned to second round exits.
Michael van Gerwen – who didn’t feature in Friday’s event, suffered a surprise 6-4 defeat to a resurgent Alan Norris, while Rob Cross and Gary Anderson crashed out at the hands of Conan Whitehead and David Evans respectively.
The final two Players Championship events of 2019 will take place on October 14-15 where the field for the Players Championship finals will be confirmed. Televised darts returns on Sunday as the World Grand Prix begins from the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Gabriel Clemens
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Peter Wright
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Christian Bunse
Jose De Sousa 6-2 Jesus Noguera
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Jonny Clayton
James Wade 6-5 Jose Justicia
Glen Durrant 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Ian White 6-4 Conan Whitehead
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 6-2 James Wade
Glen Durrant 6-5 Ian White
Jose De Sousa 7-3 Mensur Suljovic
Glen Durrant 7-6 Gerwyn Price
Jose De Sousa 8-6 Glen Durrant