Third title of 2023 for Van Duijvenbode with PC10 success

Dirk van Duijvenbode (Taylor Lanning, PDC)

Dirk van Duijvenbode picked up a third PDC ProTour title of 2023 with victory in Sunday's Players Championship Ten in Wigan.

The Dutchman has already scooped two previous Players Championship wins this year, and added a further £12,000 to his rankings by seeing off Jose de Sousa in Sunday's final.

A high-quality day of darts from Van Duijvenbode also saw him see off UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh on his way to the title.

"I wanted three [titles] and I have three," said Van Duijvenbode, who was also a runner-up on the European Tour in the European Darts Open last month.

"I think I was a bit lucky today. I shouldn't have been lucky but against Matt Campbell I should have won 6-3 or 6-2, and I didn't finish it off and at the end he was better.

"I was lucky that I won it at the end and now I won the tournament. In the final, I was so happy with the 156. Jose was about to come back.

"Sometimes I think that knowing what you're capable of, knowing you can hit two 180s in a row, you always feel confident. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not."

The 2020 World Grand Prix runner-up, Van Duijvenbode is now closing in on a spot in the world's top ten for the first time - sitting less than £50,000 behind Van den Bergh.

"Two years ago when I made the top 32, I wanted to maintain the top 32 position because I didn't think I was good enough to make the top 16 on a regular basis," added the world number 11.

"Now the top ten is my goal for this year. The gap was very big between me and the top ten, I'm closing it but you won't get it easily because they're all good.

"I'm trying my best, trying to keep improving and not be satisfied. I need to be eager to keep on winning and keep on improving. I need to work on my confidence and my game is getting better every week."

He found his heavy-scoring form from the start, opening with a near-106 average in seeing off Frenchman Jacques Labre 6-1, before edging out both Canada's Matt Campbell and former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks in deciding legs.

Van Duijvenbode followed up a 6-2 win over Gilding by defeating fellow countryman Martijn Kleermaker by the same margin in the quarter-finals.

He was pushed all the way by Van den Bergh in the semi-finals, but was an emphatic winner in the final after taking command against De Sousa by winning the opening five legs without reply.

The Portuguese ace took three of the next four to pull back to 6-3, despite Van Duijvenbode following up an earlier 113 checkout with a 156 combination, before the Dutch ace took the next two for victory.

De Sousa's run to the final was comfortably his best performance of 2023 in a confidence-boosting day for the former Grand Slam of Darts champion.

He overcame top seed Luke Humphries and Germany's Martin Schindler in deciding legs, and averaged over 100 in a 7-2 semi-final success over Ian White.

White's wins over Karel Sedlacek, James Wade, Ronny Huybrechts, Luke Woodhouse and Damon Heta saw him reach a first semi-final since August 2021 and enjoy his best run on the circuit for almost ten months.

White was joined in the last four by Belgian star Van den Bergh, who whitewashed fellow countryman Robbie Knops in the first round and also saw off reigning World Youth Champion Josh Rock and World Championship semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens on Sunday.

Rock was one of two players, alongside Schindler, to achieve a nine-dart finish in Sunday's event, while five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld posted a 113.58 average in his first round win over Mike De Decker.

The 2023 Players Championship season resumes on May 20-21 with Events 11-12 in Leicester, with the PDC European Tour continuing next weekend with the Interwetten Austrian Darts Open in Graz.

See full results in the Match Centre.

See match stats through DartConnect.

Martin Schindler achieved a nine-dart finish in leg six of his last 32 tie with Boris Krcmar, before winning 6-5.
Josh Rock also enjoyed a perfect leg in the fourth leg of his 6-4 last 16 win over Jonny Clayton.

2023 Players Championship Ten
Sunday April 16, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Last 16

Jose de Sousa 6-5 Luke Humphries
Martin Schindler 6-2 Christian Kist
Damon Heta 6-1 Lee Evans
Ian White 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Josh Rock 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Jeffrey Sparidaans

Jose de Sousa 6-5 Martin Schindler
Ian White 6-4 Damon Heta
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Josh Rock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker

Jose de Sousa 7-2 Ian White
Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh

Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-3 Jose de Sousa