Jose de Sousa made it 13 matches unbeaten and two titles in as many days with his win on day three of the PDC Super Series.
The mercurial Portuguese once again defeated all comers on Wednesday. Defeating Ryan Searle 8-7 in the final, to make Players Championship 15 the third to his 2021 collection.
The win, coupled with Nathan Aspinall’s withdrawal after testing positive for COVID-19, means he extends the gap over The Asp in 10th place in the Order of Merit.
De Sousa wins again, as Searle all but books Blackpool
The Special One showed his mental toughness and calmness under pressure as he came from behind twice on the day. On both occasions his opponent was just one leg from victory.
Today’s victory featured one more win than yesterday’s, as he wasn’t afforded a bye in round one this time around. Instead, he warmed up for the day by despatching Jon Worsley 6-3.
He followed that with comfortable victories over Rowby-John Rodriguez, Kevin Doets and Jeff Smith to book his place in the quarter finals. There he met Jonny Clayton and found the first of his comebacks, taking the last two legs for a 6-5 victory, despite the Welshman averaging almost 102.
A semi-final against Rob Cross followed, and the performance of the day with it. De Sousa averaged 112 on his way to a 7-2 rout to set up his match against Searle.
Despite his loss from a commanding position in the final, it was a great day for the man from Somerset. Searle’s runner up performance, and the £6,000 that went with it, virtually guarantees his place at the World Matchplay in July.
Heavy Metal started his day with victory over Michael Rasztovits in the round of 128, before consecutively defeating Gary Anderson and Joe Cullen. It took a last leg decider for him to get past Cullen after which he added the other Rodriguez brother, Rusty-Jake, to his list of victims.
A 6-2 win over Boris Kcrmar in the quarter finals set up a battle between the heaviest and lightest darts in the PDC, as he took on Stephen Bunting for a place in the final. The heavy darts won out and Searle advanced 7-4.
That final started steadily, with the first 8 legs going with throw, at a relatively modest quality. Then things changed, Searle rattled off a 12 dart break of throw to lead 5-4. He followed that with a hold in 17 darts to extend that lead to 2 legs.
The next two legs went with throw as Jose held in 13 darts to narrow the gap to one, before Searle went within one of the match after holding throw himself.
The final was comeback number two for the Portuguese as he reeled off 3 legs in a row this time, for the 8-7 win and today’s title. Those final 3 legs coming in just 40 darts with Searle doing very little wrong and missing a dart at the bull for the match in leg 14.
What else happened on day three of the PDC Super Series?
Other than Searle, the big winner of day three of the PDC Super Series was Stephen Bunting. After fighting through a last leg decider against Ryan De Vreede, comfortable wins against Michael Smith and Geert De Vos got him into the last 16. A hard fought win over Damon Heta, followed by a 6-2 victory over Adrian Lewis in the quarter finals, saw Bunting reach the last four before losing to Heavy Metal. It means The Bullet holds the 16th and final Pro Tour qualification spot in the race for the Betfred World Matchplay.
Elsewhere, Rob Cross produced another good day as he made the last four. Wins over Darren Webster, Darius Labanauskas and Brendan Dolan got him into the last 16, he faced Michael van Gerwen. The pair produced a stunning game, but it was Voltage who’d get over the line. He then survived a last leg decider against Peter Wright, before falling to De Sousa in the semis.
Boris Krcmar and Jonny Clayton were the other two players to make the quarter finals, while Lewis’ good day sees him have a glimmer of hope in making Blackpool.
Martijn Kleermaker and Madars Razma are now outside the qualification places, needing good days tomorrow to regain their spot.