A story of three deciding legs - an analysis of José De Sousa's UK Open
(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

One of the darting stars of 2020, victory in the Grand Slam of Darts last November propelled Portuguese arrowsmith José De Sousa into the upper echelons of the darting world.

Winning his maiden PDC title in Milton Keynes last year was a sensational achievement and the 47-year-old is now regarded as one of the best players in the world and a major contender to win any tournament in which he participates.

After a first-round exit in the Masters and a below-par Super Series for his own high standards, De Sousa would've gone into this years UK Open keen to kickstart his year. Here is an analysis of the Portuguese players weekend.

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

Special One edges past King in Round Four

Such has been De Sousa's rapid rise up the world rankings that he had the luxury of entering this years UK Open at the latest possible stage, the fourth round.

The reigning Grand Slam champion wasn't handed an easy draw, however having to face the in-form world number 21 Mervyn King who was also entering the tournament in Round Four. Such is the open hat draw in the tournament, similar to that of the FA Cup in Football, there were no seedings to prevent the two from facing each other so early on in their respective campaigns. 

What followed was an enthralling encounter with the two both delivering excellent displays. The game went right to the wire, with De Sousa holding his nerve in a deciding leg to take a much-needed victory, and once again reveal his qualities to the darting world. 

Perhaps the most impressive factor of De Sousa's victory over King was that King averaged a 102, which would've been strong enough to beat the majority of the players in the last 64.

De Sousa comes through thriller against Smith

Buoyed by his victory over King, the next obstacle for De Sousa was an encounter with ST Helens star Micheal Smith who was eager to return to his best form after an underwhelming 2020.

Similar to De Sousa, Smith was also handed a tricky draw in the previous round and also came through a deciding leg to see off the test of Joe Cullen with an average in excess of a ton.

Ultimately, neither of the duo were able to replicate their performances from the prior round and another tight tussle ensued on Saturday afternoon. Ultimately a 93.1 average was enough for De Sousa to see off the test of Smith in a game that once again went all the way to a deciding leg.

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

Van Gerwen knocks out De Sousa in Last 16

Another game, another deciding leg! However, this time De Sousa lost out to world number two Michael Van Gerwen.

In another high-standard affair De Sousa, showed all his resilience to hang on to the coattails of the "Green Machine", but ultimately came up short in the deciding leg.

De Sousa once again impressed through pushing a resurgent Van Gerwen all the way in one of the best games of the tournament.

Conclusion

After the disappointment of the defeat to Van Gerwen wears off, De Sousa will reflect well on his UK Open campaign, with three close games that will put him in good stead for the rest of the season.

After a below-par start to the year, De Sousa once again revealed his prowess in three enthralling encounters taking on some of the best players in the world.

A true power scorer who is clinical on his doubles the Grand Slam of Darts champion continues to impress and after an impressive showing this weekend you anticipate another major title could be looming in the not so distant future for the "Special One".

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