Littler hits another nine-darter on way to debut Euro Tour title

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Littler hits another nine-darter on way to debut Euro Tour title

Luke Littler hit another stunning nine-dart finish as he beat Rob Cross in a gripping Belgian Darts Open final to claim a first European Tour title on his debut in the series.

In a titanic final against 2018 world champion Cross that went all the way to a deciding leg, Littler hit darts’ perfect leg for the third time in a PDC tournament already this year to continue the astonishing, headline-making start to his professional career.

Having opening up the 11th leg of a closely-fought final with back-to-back 180s to leave himself the chance of the nine-darter on 144, the 17-year-old made no mistake on his third visit of the leg courtesy of two treble 20s and a double 12 to send the Oktoberhallen wild.

“I’m really happy to hit a nine-darter, I prefer 144 to 141 to finish a nine because when the first treble 20 goes in I’m confident of following it with another,” said Littler, who averaged 103.76 in the final.

“I know the spotlight is on me because I’ve done so well but I just play my darts and get on with it. I just do what I do.”

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But as the nine-dart celebrations from the Belgian crowd continued, Cross threatened to take the bigger prize of the match and the title for himself as he held throw and then took out 121 to break and go within one of victory at 7-6.

However, as he has already demonstrated several times in his short but stunning professional career, Littler was not finished yet and broke straight back to level it up at 7-7 and take the match to a deciding 15th leg.

Littler made no mistake from there, finishing up on double five after 14 darts, to secure his maiden Euro Tour crown at the first attempt. It is his third senior PDC title after winning January’s Bahrain Masters and February’s first 2024 Players Championship event in Wigan.

“I’m just glad to get over the line,” added the teenager. “I lost the two legs after I hit the nine so I’m relieved to get the win.

“It’s always good to be involved in a good game; me and Rob have battles and we bring the best out of each other.”

On ‘Finals Day’ in Wieze, when the tournament’s deciding rounds all took place, Littler had progressed to the final during the course of Sunday with convincing wins over Damon Heta (6-3) in round three, Jermaine Wattimena (6-2) in the quarter-final and then, in the semi-final, Ricardo Pietreczko (7-3)

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German Ricardo Pietreczko had a feisty exchange with Luke Littler after losing to him in the semi-finals of the European Tour.

After Pietreczko had squared up their semi-final at 3-3, Littler won the next four legs to book his place in the final. But the match appeared to end on a tense note with Pietreczko having words with Littler as they shook hands.

Cross booked his place in a ninth European Tour final with a 7-3 win over Gerwyn Price, having earlier knocked out Ryan Searle (6-2) and Danny Noppert (6-1).

By winning the tournament, Littler secures the £30,000 top prize while he has also moved into a provisional qualification place for July’s World Matchplay.

See Luke Littler next in action on Night Seven of 2024 Premier League Darts live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 7pm on Thursday March 14. Stream Sky Sports with a NOW Sports Month Membership – just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime

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