Damon Heta has scooped two titles in the space of a week to cement his status as one of the form players in world darts, and now the Australian is eyeing another landmark victory at the Cazoo European Championship in Dortmund.
Heta will be among the 32 players battling it out for the £120,000 top prize at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund from October 27-30, as he bids to land his first individual televised ranking title.
The 35-year-old kicks off his campaign with a clash against Dutch veteran Vincent van der Voort on Thursday’s opening night, and he’s enjoyed the perfect preparation over recent weeks.
Heta celebrated his maiden European Tour title at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy less than a fortnight ago, defeating World Champion Peter Wright in a gripping last-leg tussle at the Victoria Stadium.
The Australian then clinched his second ProTour title of 2022 just five days later at Players Championship 26 in Barnsley, while also featuring in semi-finals on Thursday and Sunday.
Heta posted 13 ton-plus averages across four days at the Barnsley Metrodome – including averages of 111 and 114 – and he is brimming with confidence ahead of his trip to Dortmund.
“I think over these last few months I’ve learnt a lot, and to come away with another title last week, I’m overjoyed,” said Heta, the fifth seed at the European Championship.
“Hopefully this becomes the norm and I keep doing great things – that’s what I want to do.”
Heta has enjoyed mixed fortunes in televised events in 2022, having guided Australia to a maiden World Cup of Darts title alongside Simon Whitlock in June.
He also defeated Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton to reach the UK Open quarter-finals in March, but has since suffered consecutive first round exits to Joe Cullen at the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
“I’ve had some bad TV experiences – some games I have played badly, others I haven’t, the Australian conceded.
"It does creep into my mind, but at the same time, I played well at the UK Open, and I won the World Cup this year.
“I am looking forward now. I really want to push on in these big tournaments.”
Heta has enjoyed a remarkable rise since claiming a PDC Tour Card in January 2020, and he’s now on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 16 for the first time in his career.
He is provisionally set to be the top seed at next month’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals in Minehead, and he’s the only player on the ProTour to boast a yearly average of over 99.
The former Brisbane Darts Masters winner is determined to transfer this blistering floor form to the big stage, and he believes he has found the right formula at the business end of the season.
“I’m not trying too hard anymore. I’m more relaxed, I’m throwing quicker and things are happening,” Heta added.
“I think I’ve nailed it down to stick to my game – believe in what I’m throwing, believe in my action.
“I would say my action is as good as any, and if I can believe in that and just let the darts flow, I seem to hit 180s and the doubles are coming.
“I feel like life is going easy at the moment, so when you’re on a high like this, I’m going to let it ride, and hopefully it rides to the top.”
2022 Cazoo European Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday October 27 (1845 local time, 1745 BST)
8x First Round
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Madars Razma
Ryan Searle v Martin Lukeman
Danny Noppert v Andrew Gilding
Rob Cross v James Wade
Luke Humphries v Krzysztof Ratajski
Nathan Aspinall v Josh Rock
Michael Smith v Karel Sedlacek
Damon Heta v Vincent van der Voort
Friday October 28 (1845 local time, 1745 BST)
8x First Round
Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Daryl Gurney
Joe Cullen v Ross Smith
Jose de Sousa v Martin Schindler
Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle
Gerwyn Price v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael van Gerwen v Chris Dobey
Jonny Clayton v Gabriel Clemens