Majestic De Sousa storms to Players Championship 9 title

Jose de Sousa produced an astonishing display to prevail on the opening day of PDC Super Series 3 in Niedernhausen, recording an 8-1 victory over Luke Humphries in Saturday’s Players Championship 9 final.

The Grand Slam of Darts champion posted an incredible 114 average against ‘Cool Hand’ to seal the £10,000 top prize, in one of the most dominant performances ever seen in a Pro Tour final.

‘The Special One’ was the epitome of consistency throughout the day in Germany, averaging over 96 in all seven matches, relinquishing just 14 legs en route to wrapping up his fifth PDC ranking title.

The Premier League debutant posted a 101.4 average in a 6-1 demolition of Maik Kuivenhoven in round one, which set the tone for a day of darting dominance. He defeated Ciaran Teehan by the same scoreline in round two, before battling past the German duo of Max Hopp and Gabriel Clemens to reach the last eight.

De Sousa turned on the style in the quarter-finals, firing in a sensational 111 average in a 6-2 win over Brendan Dolan, to deny the Northern Irishman a second Pro Tour title of 2021. The 46-year-old then produced another majestic display in the semi-finals to thrash Krzysztof Kciuk 7-2, as the Pole enjoyed his best run in a PDC ranking event.

Nevertheless, ‘The Special One’ saved the best until last. He kicked off the final with 180s in the opening two legs to establish an early cushion, only for Humphries to convert a 101 kill in leg three to halve the deficit.

De Sousa was undeterred though, producing a blistering three leg spell to stretch his lead to 5-1, following up a ten-darter with back-to-back 11s. The Portuguese star then moved to the brink of victory with legs of 14 and 12 darts, before closing out a comprehensive victory via double 10.

“This is a special moment,” said De Sousa. “I played well but I think my doubles were the reason I got to the final, they helped me a lot today so I’m happy. Right now I’m feeling in great shape, and my triple 20s are easy to make, and when you make so many triples you come to the final.

“I’m very happy for my doubles today, it was so important for me to make my doubles. I came up in my percentage in my doubles so it’s amazing for me. Today, the feeling was so good. This doesn’t stop here and tomorrow I have another day, and I hope I can do the same.”

Humphries was rendered helpless against an irrepressible De Sousa, but it was another day of progress for the UK Open runner-up, who advanced to his third PDC ranking final within six weeks.

The former World Youth champion averaged 103.8 in his second round win over Niels Zonneveld, while also recording wins over Kevin McDine, Nick Kenny, Mervyn King and Jason Lowe to reach the semi-finals.

In the last four, Humphries recovered from 4-0 and 6-4 down to dump out World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, who registered his best display in a Pro Tour event since August 2019.

Premier League table-topper Nathan Aspinall continued his fine form in Niedernhausen, landing a nine-dart finish in his clash against Andy Boulton, which he won with a spectacular 170 checkout in a deciding leg. However, ‘The Asp’ was eventually dumped out in the last 16 by Dolan.

Michael van Gerwen was dumped out by Josh Payne in the opening round following a sub-par display from the Dutchman, and his compatriots Dirk van Duijvenbode, Raymond van Barneveld and Vincent van der Voort also departed at the same hurdle, alongside Krzysztof Ratajski, Ian White and Devon Petersen.

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2021 Players Championship Nine – PDC Super Series 3 Day One
Saturday April 24, H+ Hotel, Niedernhausen
Last 16

Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Ross Smith
Luke Humphries 6-1 Mervyn King
Jason Lowe 6-0 Ryan Meikle
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Alan Tabern 6-1 Steve Lennon
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Quarter-Finals
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Jamie Hughes
Luke Humphries 6-4 Jason Lowe
Jose de Sousa 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-5 Alan Tabern

Semi-Finals
Luke Humphries 7-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jose de Sousa 7-2 Krzysztof Kciuk

Final
Jose de Sousa 8-1 Luke Humphries

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