UK Open Darts: James Wade produces brilliant best to claim title and move back into world's top four
James Wade beat Simon Whitlock, Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries to win a third UK Open title of his career; his first major title since 2018. The triumph also sees 'The Machine' move back into the top four on the PDC Order of Merit
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 07/03/21 10:15pm
James Wade produced his brilliant best throughout Sunday, as he claimed a third UK Open triumph of his distinguished career.
'The Machine' edged Simon Whitlock, before stunning world champion and the sport's top-ranked player Gerwyn Price in the semi-final, to set up an unlikely final showdown with Luke Humphries.
In a characteristically gritty display, Wade used all of his experience to see off the gutsy 26-year-old to seal the title 11-5, adding to his previous UK Open crowns in 2008 and 2011.
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The experienced Englishman drew first blood in the decider, storming into a 4-1 lead at the first interval. He dug deep for another break in the second session, moving 7-3 ahead.
Humphries, playing in his first major final, was seemingly disadvantaged by a quick turnaround after his semi-final win over Michael van Gerwen. After the highs of a 109 average in the 11-5 victory over MVG, 'Cool Hand Luke' was unable to back it up.
He did have three shots at double to break the Wade throw and bring it back to 9-6, but his wayward attempts at the outer ring allowed 'The Machine' to move into a 10-5 lead.
From there, it was a mere procession as Wade broke throw in 15 darts to seal the title.
Humphries, who came into the weekend ranked 41 on the PDC Order of Merit, can be proud of his efforts, as he looks to build on the promising display in the coming months.
The key to winning the UK Open?
For the last six years, the player who defeated Rob Cross went on to win the UK Open.
Michael van Gerwen (2016 and 2020), Peter Wright (2017), Gary Anderson (2018), Nathan Aspinall (2019), and now James Wade (2021) all beat Voltage en route to claiming the title.
It was a final pairing few could have predicted, after Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen came into the semi-finals in top form. After the world's top two players impressed on Saturday to reach the last eight, it was looking likely that the duo were going to set up a rematch of the 2020 UK Open final.
Machine clicks into gear to reach decider
'The Machine' edged Simon Whitlock in the afternoon session, overcoming the Australian star 10-8. That set up a semi-final showdown with Gerwyn Price.
The world champion was brought all the way to a deciding leg by Devon Petersen in the last eight. However, 'The African Warrior' was unable to attack the Welshman's throw in the final leg, hitting just one big treble in 12 darts. 'The Iceman' took full advantage, pinning D20 for victory.
But Price was unable to build on that momentum in the semi-final, as Wade stormed into a deserved 5-0 cushion at the interval. The world champion looked shell-shocked, as the Englishman's 5/7 on doubles helped him into a commanding lead. From there, the damage was done.
Price did threaten a comeback winning three consecutive legs to pull it back to 7-4, but Wade broke straight back on the bullseye to establish a 8-4 advantage.
From there, he eased his way to a 11-6 triumph.
Cool Hand Luke stuns MVG
Luke Humphries delivered one of the performances of his life in the semi-final, averaging 109 in an 11-5 victory over Michael van Gerwen. This was in spite of MVG averaging 106 in a high-quality display.
The former world youth champ set the tone right from the off, opening with checkouts of 112 and 132 as he burst into a 4-0 lead.
'The Green Machine' kept coming back, but Humphries had the answers time and time again. The Dutchman pulled it back to 4-2, but the Englishman then won three legs without reply.
A stunning 128 out-shot gave Humphries a 10-5 advantage, and he pinned D6 against the throw to reach the final.
Humphries had beaten Dave Chisnall earlier in the afternoon, after the quarter-final went to a last-leg decider.
James Wade 10-8 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Luke Humphries 10-9 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries
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