De Sousa dispels comeback to defeat Smith in thriller to reach Grand Slam semi-finals on debut
Jose de Sousa has continued his rapid rise with 'The Special One' surviving another comeback to edge past Michael Smith and reach the Grand Slam semi-finals on debut in a 16-14 win.
De Sousa was 8-3 up and seemingly cruising but had Smith produce a brilliant comeback to tee up a tense final part of the game and it was the Portuguese ace who claimed it with 22 180's between them in a classic tie.
De Sousa like against Chisnall had a superb start to proceedings. He doubled his lead with an 84 checkout early on and was 4-1 up at the interval with five missed darts at double during leg five proving costly.
Smith missed further darts and De Sousa from there hit a second 180 and double six to move ahead 5-1. Smith started to get legs on the board going 6-2 down but back-to-back 180's and an 81 checkout halted his initial comeback in it's tracks.
He sat 8-2 up at the break which prompted the question, could De Sousa win from here or would Smith make a comeback.
It was the latter. De Sousa made a mess of finishing when they returned and Smith broke with a 68 checkout to make it 8-3.
Four legs in a row followed for Smith as he went 8-6 behind and really started to test the resolve of the Special One. This comeback was nearly complete as Smith went 8-7 behind at the break.
Smith found himself on level terms at 8-8 and despite De Sousa stopping the rot, a brilliant foray of a ten darter and a ninth 180 and double 20 saw Smith lead for the first time.
It was back and forward from there with De Sousa though making it 13-12 with a break and hold as he looked to finish what he started.
But Smith himself smashed in the first ton plus checkout in a 129 to hold and make it 13-13. A hold made it 14-13 to De Sousa though as he needed two more holds to go through.
With De Sousa sat on 35 for a break, Smith pinned a 71 checkout to hold and make it 14-14. Smith pressured the De Sousa with a 180 but missed a 102 checkout for a break.
De Sousa came back to hold and go one away at 15-14. Smith missed three to hold his throw and De Sousa pinned a 47 checkout and let out emotion as he crossed the line.
2020 Grand Slam of Darts Schedule
Sunday November 22
Afternoon Session (13:00 GMT)
Michael Smith (95.74) 14-16 (98.65) Jose De Sousa
Damon Heta v James Wade