Littler wins Poland Darts Masters after stunning three-match display

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Littler wins Poland Darts Masters after stunning three-match display

Luke Littler took his second World Series title in Poland
Luke Littler took his second World Series title in PolandPDC
Luke Littler has won the Poland Darts Masters. Littler was successively too strong for Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Rob Cross on the final night. The 17-year-old Englishman has been credited with £20,000 in prize money.

Final

Luke Littler 8-3 Rob Cross

The first three legs of the match went cleanly with the arrows. In the fourth leg, it was Littler who led by a break and started his own fifth leg with his second maximum score of the match. Cross also aimed three in the triple 20 moments later, but from 164 it was Littler who managed to cash in on his break and take a 4-1 lead. Cross did manage to hold his own sixth leg partly due to his second 180 and went into the break with a 4-2 deficit.

After the break, Littler cheerfully continued where he left off and lifted the score to 5-2. Cross took his own eighth leg and stayed in the match. Littler continued to finish excellently (6-for-9 at that point) and increased the gap to three legs again.

Misses by Cross allowed Littler to break again and make it 7-3. Littler was allowed to start the 11th leg himself. The winner of the Bahrain Darts Masters ran out of trouble and won his second World Series title.

Semi-finals

Luke Littler 7-6 Michael Smith

Smith started fresh and broke his opponent in 14 darts in the first leg for the first lead of the match. Littler replied with the first 180 of the match and followed it up with 140. Nevertheless, Smith was first on a finish and via 87 it became 2-0 for Bully Boy.

Littler opened the third leg with his second 180 and the junior world champion and vice world champion found connection by winning the leg. Smith managed to keep his own fourth leg and the difference was two again.

Smith's second 180 put Littler under pressure in his own leg and he succumbed. Smith ran out to 4-1 and started the sixth leg himself. Despite a 180 from Smith to start the leg, Littler did something back just in time. Via the break it was 4-2 and the young darter stayed in the match.

Littler seemed reborn and after the break he simply kept his own leg and brought the difference to just one more leg. Missing by Smith, Littler threw Shanghai 19 to finish 114 and level the score completely. In his own ninth leg, however, Littler ran into trouble again and he could not prevent another break.

A leg later, 137 went out for Littler and the sixth break of the match became a reality: 5-5. Littler grabbed his first lead of the match in his own 11th leg. A clever 116 finish from Smith set up a sudden-death leg.

Littler hit his fifth 180 of the match, Smith threw his fourth moments later. From 124, Smith had a match dart, but missed. Littler had 40 left and missed as many as three match darts. Smith also reached that number a turn later and that cost him the match.

Littler did hit his fifth match dart and qualified for the final.

Rob Cross 7-2 Michael van Gerwen

The match started with a dip for Van Gerwen, who was broken partly by a maximum score from Cross and fell behind. The Englishman cashed in on his break and ran out to 2-0. Van Gerwen also missed his fourth and fifth darts on a double and saw Cross lead even further in the third leg.

Cross also cashed in his second break of the match to make it 4-0. Van Gerwen's seventh arrow on the double was finally hit and the Brabander appeared on the scoreboard after the fifth leg. Van Gerwen's second 180 of the match opened up opportunities to put a break back and so it happened: 4-2.

After the break, Van Gerwen missed an arrow on the double to keep his own leg and was broken again by Cross, who made it 5-2. Cross threw his third 180 of the match in the eighth leg and got to match point in 11 darts.

Cross slammed in another 177 and 140 and his third match dart went in. He will take on Luke Littler in the final.

Quarter-finals

Luke Littler 6-3 Peter Wright

Littler had a false start scoring and saw Wright easily take a 1-0 lead in his own leg. Littler seemed to catch on in the second leg and levelled the score by finishing 50.

Wright smashed in his first 180 of the evening in the third leg and ran out to another lead in 11 darts. Littler escaped a break against after both men missed doubles and the fourth leg also went to the man who started it: 2-2.

Leg number five started with a 180 from both men and Littler was also able to throw a maximum score after that, unlike Wright. Poland's crowd did not get to see a nine-darter and after a miss from Wright, Littler did go out in 12 arrows.

The first break of the match saw Wright having to chase. Wright, unlike on Friday, was scoring quite well (110 average at the time). Littler showed himself to be a pocket darter by keeping his own leg in 15 arrows: 4-2.

Wright stayed alive by winning the seventh leg, but knew he needed another break to stand a chance. The Scot missed the bullseye to throw out 170 in Littler's leg and saw the Englishman creep to 5-3.

Littler threw his third 180 of the match in the ninth leg - all in legs that Wright had started. From 81, Littler missed his first match dart, but after a miss from Wright, it was still a hit at match dart three.

Luke Humphries 5-6 Michael Smith

After Smith took a 1-0 lead in his own leg, Humphries started the second leg with the first 180 of the match. The reigning world champion easily took the leg and levelled the score.

Legs three and four also went with the arrows and it was waiting for the first slip by one of the two most recent world champions. Throwing out 121 gave Smith the lead for the third time in the match.

Helped by his third 180 of the match, Humphries won his own sixth leg and levelled the score again. In the seventh leg, Smith finally hit it too - a 180 gave him another lead.

Smith was the first to get a break chance. After his second 180 of the match, he got an arrow on the bullseye, but missed and saw Humphries move to 4-4. Three lacklustre innings from Smith finally gave Humphries the first break and the world number one got on match point.

The match did go to an all-deciding 11th leg as Smith threw out 134 in fabulous fashion. Smith was allowed to start the 11th leg and from 71 he missed a match dart. The 2023 world champion was allowed to come back after the 2024 world champion also missed a match dart and did throw in his fourth match dart.

Rob Cross 6-4 Stephen Bunting

Cross showed he was awake and threw two 180s in the first leg and was immediately ahead by a break. Helped by his third 180 of the match, he also managed to keep his own leg and run out to 2-0.

Throwing out 164, Bunting managed to keep his own third leg. And he needed to as Cross was waiting for 58. Bunting levelled the score in the fourth leg and got to start the fifth leg himself to take the lead for the first time in the match.

That did not succeed for Bunting, who replaced the absent Gerwyn Price in Poland. Cross managed to post another break and led 3-2. In his own sixth leg, Cross brought the difference to two legs again and looked to be heading for a win.

Bunting missed the chance to connect and The Bullet was broken for the third time in the match: 5-2. Bunting grasped his final straw by breaking Cross for the second time.

Cross missed his first match dart and from 18, Bunting came a little closer: 5-4. Cross was allowed to start the 10th leg and booked a spot in the semi-final by finishing 62.

Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Boris Krcmar

Van Gerwen managed to keep his own first leg fairly straightforward and in the second leg used a break to take a comfortable 2-0 lead. In the third leg, the Croatian again could not get a grip on Van Gerwen, who won his third consecutive leg.

The fourth leg produced the first 180 of the match. Van Gerwen was the lucky one and via Shanghai 20, leg number four also went to the Brabander. Van Gerwen's second maximum score opened the way to 5-0 and from 99 it was achieved.

Van Gerwen's masterclass ended with a 124 finish and the sweep was a fact.

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