2021 UK Open: Luke Humphries' run to maiden televised title
Humphries in action against Wade in the 2021 UK Open Final (Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Newbury ace Luke Humphries defied all odds to reach the UK Open final which has moved him up to 33 in the world ranking, just outside the world’s top 32.

After an impressive display in the semi-final, where he dismantled a rejuvenated Michael van Gerwen 11-5 with a 107.4 average, four ton-plus checkouts and 11 out of 16 on the doubles, the experienced James Wade awaited.

Wade himself was in fine form throughout the tournament, reaching the final after defeating world number one Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals.

(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Story of the Final

It was the experience of the 37-year-old that showed, producing the same score line Humphries defeated ‘MVG’ by to claim his third UK Open, his first in 10 years.

Wade raced into a 4-1 lead after the first break, which contained a magnificent 150 checkout.

The former PDC Development Tour winner and 2019 World Youth champion persisted but missed doubles proved pricey as ‘The Machine’ took a 7-3 advantage into the hallway point of the final.

The new world number four remained clinical on his doubles until the end and completed the victory. A truly professional display as he made it a hat-trick of UK Open titles and only the third player in PDC history to reach double figures of televised titles outlining his achievement over three decades.

Looking at the journey of Humphries in Darts

Humphries moved to Pro Tour circuit in 2020 after finishing second in the Development Tour order of merit behind Ted Evetts securing a two-year tour card. His victory over Adam Gawlas in the 2019 World Youth Championship was a fond farewell as the youngster grew his wings and flew the nest on what had been a successful campaign.

Despite failing at the final hurdle, ‘cool hand Luke’ explained how much his performances over the weekend has helped his confidence: “I have said before about the World Championships how it hurt my confidence, but to get to a major final is the most unbelievable feeling and I can’t put it into the words.”

“I don’t think I had enough time to prepare,” he said during his interview on ITV4. “Gerwyn Price is number one in the world and I played Michael van Gerwen, who I believe is the best and I beat him and had five minutes to prepare [for the final].”

“I tried my best to prepare, but I think James is the best player in the world when under pressure and he showed that in the game.”

(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Route to the Final for Humphries and Future Aspirations

As well as thumping van Gerwen in the semi-final, the 26-year-old disrupted the script beating Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the last eight and its certainly a boost for his career in the sport.

“I strive for big things in darts,” admitted Humphries during his interview on ITV4. “It’s not just a one-off final for me because it puts me into the Grand Slam for me and it’s another tournament I can look forward too.”

“It’s coming to the time where I want to start progressing now by winning major titles. I had my chance tonight, I didn’t take it, and now I want to be in the Premier League and that’s what I strive for because I want to play the best players in the world.  I think I have the game and although tonight wasn’t my night, I am very proud with what I have achieved.”

Meanwhile Wade, who has moved up to fourth in the world rankings, said: “What I would like to say about Luke is that he’s been up and down for the last four years, but he bashed Michael out the way and he made it look really easy. He is quality and he is a gentleman.”