Teenage sensation Luke Littler takes on Luke Humphries in the possible 'best final' of the World Darts Championship on Wednesday at Alexandra Palace; watch Littler vs Humphries live on Sky Sports Darts from 7.30pm, stream contract-free NOW or follow our live blog
By Raz Mirza at Alexandra Palace, London
Last updated: 01/03/24 12:13 p.m.
Four years after their first meeting in a local competition, Luke Humphries predicts his World Darts Championship final against 16-year-old Luke Littler could be one of the “best” ever.
Littler became the youngest player to reach the final when he defeated Rob Cross 6-2 Tuesday with a lot of free time.
The 16-year-old, who is just days away from his 17th birthday (January 21), now has a chance to claim a historic place in the sport as he targets the title at Alexandra Palace.
Luke Littler vs Luke Humphries – Tournament Stats
|Over 100 match averages
World Darts Championship Live
January 3, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Humphries ensured he would top the world rankings for the first time after putting in one of the best performances ever at the tournament to whitewash the all-conquering Michael van Gerwen. Scott Williams 6-0.
“Nothing is going to faze him,” Humphries said of Littler after his victory Tuesday night. “If he plays like he did tonight, tomorrow won't bother him at all, so I'll probably have to play the game of my life.
“I know what awaits me and what the task is. I have to play at my best tomorrow, but I hope to make him play his best as well and we will give the fans, hopefully, one of the best finals world we have ever seen.”
Reflecting on his 2019 meeting with Littler, then 12, at a local competition, Humphries added: “The first time I played with him, I think he was 12 and he was so terribly good.
“It was in a local meet and he missed a 164 to go ahead. I think I shot 64 and 3, you see, that says a lot from what I remember about what happened. happened.
“I remember knowing that when you play that well at 12, you have talent.
“A lot of people have come and gone, but he has shown that he is the real deal, and no matter what happens tomorrow, he has an extremely bright future.
Littler: Reaching the final beyond belief
Littler, who is set to produce one of the greatest sporting stories of all time, admits it is “more than believable” that he reached the final.
“It’s not even understood yet,” Littler said. “I had some big averages on floor last year and I’m happy to be able to get on the big stage.
“I have to stay focused, be Luke Littler and relax. It's beyond belief. I only set myself the goal of winning one game and coming back after Christmas and I'm still standing.
“I can't imagine lifting the trophy. I just have to beat whoever is in front of me. I have to stay mature, I have to be myself and keep myself to myself.
“I have to stay calm and try to overcome this limit.”
Littler has knocked out two former world champions, Raymond van Barneveld and Cross, and he now has his sights set on winning the Sid Waddell Trophy when he takes on the best darts player on the planet in Humphries.
“I just have to beat whoever is in front of me tomorrow. It's not even sunk in yet,” he said. “This World Championship, I have nothing to lose, it's just a free kick and there I am still standing. There is no pressure, I take everything in my stride.
“I have to believe in myself, believe in my abilities and so far, so good.”
Littler, who revealed he received pre-match messages from footballers Luke Shaw and Rio Ferdinand, only qualified for the tournament by winning the World Junior Championship in November and his fairytale journey put the PDC under pressure to grant him a place in the tournament. next Premier League.
Pundit Wayne Mardle says Littler continues to perform beyond the highest level, calling his performances “magnificent”.
“He averaged 106.05 in the biggest match of his life,” Mardle said. “The kid is taking it all in stride. Absolutely beautiful.
“If you're sitting at home and witnessing this or if you're here, you've witnessed something completely mind-boggling. A 16-year-old is in the final of the World Championship.”
Watch the World Darts Championship final at 7.30pm on January 3 – live on Sky Sports Darts. Stream Sky Sports Darts without a contract NOW