PDC Winter Series: Peter Wright triumphs on day four with deciding-leg win over Jose De Sousa
Peter Wright clinched his seventh title of 2020 as he defied a spirited comeback from Jose De Sousa to prevail in a thrilling last-leg shootout on day four of the Winter Series.
The world champion, who secured his fourth major televised title at last month’s European Championship, was rarely troubled as he produced a string of sublime performances to pocket the £10,000 top prize at the Ricoh Arena on Friday afternoon.
The world No 2 boasted a tournament average in excess of 100 to claim his first title of the Winter Series and step up his preparations ahead of next week’s Grand Slam of Darts.
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- Grand Slam of Darts 2020: Qualifiers, schedule & draw
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De Sousa progressed to his second final in the space of three days in Coventry, although ‘The Special One’ was denied a fourth PDC crown by an irrepressible Wright, who fired in an 11-darter in the decider to wrap up another Pro Tour title.
The pair traded blows in a blistering start to proceedings, with De Sousa drawing first blood courtesy of a two-dart 100 combination, and the Portuguese star missed tops for back-to-back 11-darters in leg two, as Wright delivered a stinging 12-dart riposte.
De Sousa capitalised on some sluggish scoring from ‘Snakebite’ to open up a 3-2 cushion, but Wright won the next two legs in 26 darts to restore his lead, only for De Sousa to level via double two, having extraordinarily gone T20, T20, D2 for a 124 finish.
Wright is renowned for tinkering with his set-up and he remarkably opted for a change of equipment midway through the match, but it paid dividends as he reeled off three consecutive legs in 14, 13 and 14 darts to move to the brink of victory.
HEAR FROM YOUR CHAMPION
Dan Dawson catches up with PDC Winter Series Day Four winner Peter Wright following his dramatic 8-7 win over Jose De Sousa in Friday's final.
It's another title for the World Champion as he wins PC22. pic.twitter.com/hmquiKqPJn
De Sousa refused to relent, however, crashing in three maximums in as many legs to level up proceedings at seven apiece – an 86 finish for a 12-darter in leg 13 the highlight of his fightback.
Nevertheless, having succumbed to Michael Smith in a decider in Wednesday’s showpiece, history repeated itself for ‘The Special One’ as Wright utilised the advantage of throw to tremendous effect, following up his sixth 180 with an effortless 100 finish to seal the deal in style.
“It’s a really good win for me,” reflected Wright. “It was always going to be close with Jose because he’s one of the best players in the world at the moment.
“He’s not been on the circuit long, but he’s amazing. He’s a lovely guy as well, so relaxed and laid back and we have a little bit of banter.”
PDC Winter Series – Winners
The 50-year-old relinquished just seven legs in setting up a showdown against De Sousa, who accounted for the world champion in the quarter-finals of Tuesday’s Winter Series opener.
Wright posted averages of 106 and 108 respectively in 6-1 routs of Robert Thornton and Steve Lennon, before dispatching Ricky Evans by the same scoreline to progress to the quarter-finals.
Tuesday’s finalist Jermaine Wattimena remains in pole position to secure a Grand Slam spot via the Winter Series Order of Merit, but he was beaten 6-3 by Wright in the last eight, before the world No 2 swept aside Joe Cullen for the loss of a solitary leg in the semi-finals.
De Sousa maintained his impressive form at the Winter Series, although he was given a stern examination in his opener, coming through a last-leg decider to topple Andy Boulton despite averaging over 106.
The newly crowned European Grand Prix champion later claimed convincing wins over Kirk Shepherd and Adam Hunt, before registering two 6-3 victories to account for Brendan Dolan and Jonny Clayton.
This set up a semi-final showdown against a resurgent Adrian Lewis, who defeated world No 1 Michael van Gerwen and Simon Whitlock to reach his first ranking semi-final of 2020, but De Sousa prevailed 7-5 in a high-quality contest that saw both men average over 102.
Thursday’s champion Gerwyn Price was a notable absentee on day four, while James Wade and Gary Anderson although withdrew from injury, which meant Wright and the returning Van Gerwen received byes to the second round.
Elsewhere, Lisa Ashton claimed her first victory of the Winter Series with a deciding-leg success over Rob Cross, after the former world champion squandered seven match darts in a dramatic finale.
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Ryan Murray
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen 6-2 Damon Heta
Jose De Sousa 7-5 Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright 7-1 Joe Cullen
Peter Wright 8-7 Jose De Sousa
Non-stop darts as truncated season comes to a close
Over the next four weeks, a relentless schedule will round-off the PDC season and finalise the field for this year’s World Championships which remain scheduled for Alexandra Palace in mid-December.
The final day of Pro Tour action continues on Saturday with Grand Slam places still up for grabs as well as the last chance for many to secure their Tour card for next season. You can follow the Grand Slam on Sky Sports with all nine days from Coventry getting underway on Monday, November 16.
PDC Calendar – remaining events
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Following the Grand Slam, the tungsten stays at the Ricoh Arena with three days of Players Championship Finals action and then the final qualifier for the World Championship.
Sky Sports Darts will keep you across all the action as the season reaches its climax. As well as all the action, The Darts Show podcast will catch up with all the players, discuss the talking points and get expert opinion from former world No 1 Colin Lloyd.
Follow the action from the Grand Slam with all nine days covered on Sky Sports Arena – and if you are out and about follow updates via our live blogs and @SkySportsDarts.
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