World number one Luke Humphries has vowed to ignore the haters after just missing out on winning more silverware.

Humphries missed match darts against Dimitri Van den Bergh in the deciding leg of the UK Open final in Minehead on Sunday to claim what would have been a fifth major ranking title out of the last six.

One of those includes winning the World Championship at the start of 2024, but despite such dominance which has seen him outperform Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Luke Littler, Humphries still has to prove people wrong.

Humphries says he is still navigating the spotlight and the attention it brings.

 “It is silly from me because I am the one that is allowing it to happen,” the 29-year-old told the PA news agency.

“You’ll always have it, if I go three months without winning I will have people on my back.

“I feel like a couple of weeks ago everyone was saying I was the worst ever world champion, I was falling off, I am rubbish and I always come back out and prove people wrong.

“I know I didn’t win. I proved again that I might not be the best player in the world, but I am one of the best.

“For me it is all about learning, I am new to having this stardom of being the world champion and world number one, but I did prove everyone wrong.

“I had a great tournament, these are really tough weeks. I will keep working hard and keep going, there’s plenty more majors to win.

“It gets to the point where you just have to accept that everyone is not going to like you or believe in you.

“If you and your family believes in you then I don’t think anyone else matters, they all do and I believe in myself.

“I don’t want to throw it all away by putting too much pressure on myself, I know there is plenty out there for me in the future.”

Dimitri Van den Bergh finally derailed the Luke Humphries juggernaut after beating him in a gripping final of the UK Open.

World number one Humphries came into the tournament at Minehead having won four of the last five major ranking tournaments, which included sealing glory at the World Championship at the start of 2024.

He was a heavy favourite to add the UK Open to his collection after a trouble-free run to the final at Butlin’s, but the Belgian won a deciding leg to claim an 11-10 victory and seal a second major title of his own.

It looked like he had blown his chance as he squandered a 7-2 lead and then missed six match darts, only to finally land his seventh after Humphries had missed chances of his own.

While Luke Littler – who was a beaten quarter-finalist at Butlin’s – has stolen the limelight since his emergence, Humphries was proving himself to be the best player around so this defeat will be a tonic to the rest of the pack.

And Van den Bergh, who excelled as youth player, will be hoping this can help kickstart his career, which showed early promise when he won the 2020 World Matchplay.

He said: “First of all, he showed again why is he the world champion. There was a moment when it was 10-8 and I was like ‘I’m one leg away, I can win this’, and I lost it. I lost my gut but all of a sudden, it turned around.

“My grandad died two years ago and this is my first major win since. This is gold and it’s for him.

“You win some, you lose some, you have got to dig deep and keep trying.”

Humphries said: “I have had a long five days on the road, I am absolutely shattered. I was very lucky to get two darts, I will obviously be gutted because I missed two darts.

“But I did my best with the way I was feeling. I give everything, I really didn’t play well. I am proud of the way I played.”

With Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price all crashing out in the early rounds, it seemed prime for another battle of the Lukes in the final, but teenager Littler was ousted in the last eight by Damon Heta.


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The 17-year-old has made waves in the first few months on the PDC Tour, having claimed the Bahrain Masters in his debut tournament in January and competed well in the Premier League, but leaves his first major empty handed.

He will have regrets about his defeat as, despite Heta’s incredible level, Littler rallied from 8-4 down and missed two darts at his favoured double 10 to send it to a decider.

Littler said on Instagram: “Disappointed to not make it past the quarters but was a great game. Enjoying my darts and just grateful for everything.”

Luke Littler will have to wait to win his first major title as he lost in the quarter-final of the UK Open.

The 17-year-old, who burst on to the scene with his run to the final at the World Championship over Christmas, was looking a good bet to claim the silverware in Minehead, but came up against an inspired Damon Heta.

The Australian played the match of his life, averaging 106.04, to claim a surprise 10-8 victory.

Littler has made waves in the first few months on the PDC Tour, having won the Bahrain Masters in his debut tournament in January and competing well in the Premier League, but he leaves his first major empty-handed.

He will have regrets about his defeat as despite Heta’s incredible level, Littler rallied from 8-4 down and missed two darts at his favoured double 10 to send it to a decider.

Heta said: “Credit to myself. I was up for it, sometimes I feel like that in practice so I know what it feels like.

“To come out on top against Luke Littler, who has taken the media and darts by storm, I love him to bits to be fair, it’s a massive boost for darts… but for myself I know what I am up against.


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“These are the guys I need to beat.”

Littler’s exit clears the path for world champion and world number one Luke Humphries.

Humphries, aiming for a fourth successive major ranking title, demolished Masters champion Stephen Bunting 10-2 in the first quarter-final.

And the 29-year-old celebrated by going back to bed before his return to stage later on Sunday.

“I am going to go and have a sleep, I felt fatigued coming on to stage, it’s been a long five days on the road,” he said.

“Usually I’d watch the draw but I am going to sleep.”

Ricky Evans said he was on “cloud 10” after reaching his first major semi-final by beating Rob Cross.

Cross missed a plethora of chances, including 28 darts at a double, to allow Evans to steal a 10-7 win.

“He gave me so many chances and I took them,” a tearful Evans said. “I won and I just looked at the stats and I don’t care.

“I’m on cloud 10, it’s better than nine. I am chuffed to bits and on my sister’s birthday, it’s a present for her.”

Luke Littler proved he is a normal teenager after all by admitting he is not a morning person.

The 17-year-old advanced into the quarter-finals of the UK Open after he followed up his nervy afternoon win over Martin Schindler with a resounding victory over world number nine Dave Chisnall in the last 16.

Littler has appeared superhuman with his exploits since bursting onto the scene at the World Championship over Christmas, but early mornings appear to be his kryptonite.

He had to skip breakfast in order to prepare for his 2pm start against the German and edged over the line but he was in his natural habitat when he dispatched Chisnall handsomely in the evening session.

“I think if everyone didn’t know, they are going to know now that I am not a morning person,” he said.

“I did struggle this morning but I managed to get over the line against Martin.

“After that game, I chilled out, had some food, and I think played better in the evening, every player thinks they play better in the evening.

“I chilled myself out, went on my phone, went out for some food. This morning I didn’t have breakfast and I was feeling sick because there was nothing in my stomach and my adrenalin was going.

“That first game was really hard to get over the line.”

Littler will have another afternoon outing on Sunday in his last-eight tie before a possible semi-final and final tie in the evening session.

That puts him three wins away from a maiden major title and he says claiming glory at Minehead Butlin’s would be a new high.

“It would be unbelievable, I have not even thought about it, I will just take it game by game,” he said.

“That’s what every player has to do, play the game and if you are lucky enough to win you will go on to the next one.”


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Littler could be on course for a rematch of the World Championship final against Luke Humphries as the world champion also advanced to the last eight.

Humphries is trying to claim a fourth successive major televised title following wins at the Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship and World Championship and looks a good bet.

He posted routine wins against Benjamin Reus and Mervyn King and is eyeing a date with Littler.

“Me and probably Luke Littler have been the most consistent players in the tournament so far so if we draw each other it will be a fantastic game,” Humphries said.

“If it’s in the final, if I get that far, then even better.

“It would be great for the fans to watch and we have been the most consistent in the tournament.”

There were more big-name casualties on Saturday as Michael Smith and Gary Anderson followed Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price in suffering early exits.

Luke Littler says his love of the game is the reason behind his incredible rise as his progress in the UK Open continued.

Littler burst onto the scene at Christmas with a debut run to the final of the World Championship and has become a star name since.

He remains on course to win his first major tournament as he moved through to the fifth round in Minehead with a 10-8 win over Martin Schindler.

Still only 17, darts remains just a game for Littler, who averaged 101.86 and battled back from 5-3 down against the German.

He said: “It’s what every darts player has got to do, if you are not enjoying it then surely you can’t play well.

“I always enjoy it, I love leading up to any competition. He played really well and hopefully I played as well, it felt like that. It was a very tough game to get over the line.”

With Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price exiting on Friday night, the draw opened up even further for him when Michael Smith crashed out in the fifth round.

The former world champion was beaten 10-9 by Luke Woodhouse, who said: “Michael Smith is a Premier League player, he is one of the top players in the world so to win that I am chuffed.

“I tried my best to stick with him, I thought if I could take it to the wire then who knows and luckily I could do it.”

There are still some big names joining Littler in Saturday night’s last 16 with Gary Anderson and Rob Cross among those progressing.

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