After the breathtaking quarterfinal session on Sunday evening, Simon Whitlock and José de Sousa, as well as James Wade and Dimitri Van den Bergh faced each other in the semi-finals of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts today. Of the four remaining players, only James Wade had previously reached the final of this event in 2010 and 2016.
The first two were Josè de Sousa, who was in his first major semi-final and Simon Whitlock, who yesterday had eliminated the world number 1 Michael van Gerwen from the tournament. The Wizard also had a brilliant start to the match and after the first five legs he had an average of over 110. Nevertheless, de Sousa managed to keep up with the Australian and with 3:2 to the Australian the players went into the first break.
Also in the second session Whitlock managed to keep his high level and took a 5:2 lead. De Sousa then scored seven perfect darts on his way to 5:3 and the second session also went to Whitlock with by 3:2 to make it 6:4 overall.
The third session was to be a decisive one, Whitlock was not able to keep up his high level from then on. His average went down by seven points to exactly 100 and de Sousa could convert this to four won legs in a row.
As a result the Portuguese managed to increase his lead step by step. Several great finishes, including two times the 121, paved the way for de Sousa to a 15:11 lead.
In Leg 27, The Special One missed five match darts before he made everything clear in the next leg and went through to the final with a 16:12 win. The average for both players was just below 98 points. In the end it was consistency that gave de Sousa the decisive advantage.
“My first major final – I still can’t believe it! After the missed match darts I took a deep breath and said to myself: Come on José, just do it! Thank God it worked,” said de Sousa after progressing to the final.
In keeping with this year’s Grand Slam, which has already delivered so many incredibly close matches, the last semi-final was decided in the last leg.
At first it looked as if Dimitri Van den Bergh should succeed in dominating the game from the start. The Dreammaker started strongly and after the first session he was already 4:1 in front. Meanwhile, Wade showed unusual weaknesses on the doubles, missing eight of his first nine chances.
Van den Bergh controlled the game, was always able to maintain an advantage of three to four legs and entered the third break with a 9:6 lead.
Only then did “The Machine” start to find his rhythm, working his way back into the match to 10:9, only to let the Belgian pull away again to 13:9.
But with great willpower, Wade equalised the match at 14:14, before Van den Bergh managed to get a seemingly decisive break to make it 15:14. But Wade got the the re-break after Van den Bergh had missed a dart on the Bulls Eye for the match.
In the decider, eight-time Major Champion Wade then used his great experience to his advantage, hit a 180 and finally checked 76 points to go through to his third Grand Slam final.
“I am incredibly happy! I started so badly and thought several times that I was beaten. I haven’t felt this good in a long time,” Wade said happily in his interview with Sky Sports.
The grand final of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts 2020 will be broadcast live tomorrow from 6pm GMT on Sky Sports, DAZN, Sport1 and RTL 7.
2020 BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts, Monday, November 23, Semi finals, Best of 31 legs
Simon Whitlock 12:16 José de Sousa
Dimitri Van den Bergh 15:16 James Wade
2020 BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts, Tuesday, November 24 (6pm GMT), Final, Best of 31 legs
José de Sousa – James Wade