Who is Danny Noppert? Dutch star beats Michael Smith to win darts UK Open & what it means for world rankings

The PDC’s most recent major event had an unlikely winner on Sunday while a new name sits on top of the Order of Merit.

Danny Noppert came through a field of 160 competitors at the UK Open to win his first ever televised darts major on Sunday.

The Dutchman beat World Championship runner-up and Premier League participant Michael Smith 11-10 in a thrilling final to claim the trophy and £100,000 winner’s purse.

He reached the final after beating Ireland’s Willie O’Connor in the semis while also overcoming the likes of Damon Heta and Devon Petersen earlier in the tournament.

The result is a huge upset as Noppert knocked off a much favoured opponent in the final and took a huge step towards establishing himself as one of the world’s top players.

Here is everything you need to know about Noppert and what his UK Open win means for the PDC Order of Merit:

Who is Danny Noppert? Dutchman topples Michel Smith in UK Open final

Danny Noppert beat Michael Smith 11-0 in the final of the UK Open to win his first televised PDC major Danny Noppert beat Michael Smith 11-0 in the final of the UK Open to win his first televised PDC major
Danny Noppert beat Michael Smith 11-0 in the final of the UK Open to win his first televised PDC major

Danny Noppert is a 31-year old darts player from The Netherlands who joined the Professional Darts Corporation circuit in 2018.

He previously competed with the British Darts Organisation (BDO) from 2012 and was runner-up at their World Championships in 2017.

Since joining the PDC, Noppert has slowly but steadily worked his way up the Order of Merit with strong showings in ranking events.

He has reached the last 32 of the past three PDC World Championships and the semi-final of the 2021 World Grand Prix.

Until winning the 2022 UK Open, his best televised performance came in the 2019 World Series finals where he finished runner-up to fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwyn.

Noppert entered the UK Open sitting 16th in the world rankings and this win has now propelled him up to 12th.

He entered the competition in round four, as did all the players ranked in the top 32, and began with a 10-3 win over England’s Ryan Meikle.

Round five provided a tough draw against fellow top seed Deven Petersen (ranked 25th in the world entering the competition) but he overcame the South African 10-8.

Noppert made light work of countryman Dirk van Duijevenbode in round six, beating him 10-2 before coming up against Australia’s Damon Heta in the quarter-finals.

Heta was on a roll in the tournament, having knocked out two of the world’s best in Michael van Gerwyn and Jonny Clayton already, but Noppert put an end to his terrific run with a 10-5 win.

Ireland’s Willie O’Connor gave Noppert a tough match in the semis but the Dutchman managed to edge past him with a 11-9 win to set up a final with world number five Michael Smith.

Despite Smith having the far better average (90.3 to Noppert’s 84.8), it was another final defeat for the Englishman who has now finished runner-up at seven major events and is still searching for his first win.

What does the UK Open results mean for the PDC Order of Merit?

The tournament's result means that World Champion Peter Wright has moved above Gerwyn Price to become world number one.

The rankings are based on the prize-money accumulated by the players and Price needed to reach the final to secure his spot at the top after second ranked Wright had been eliminated at the last 16 stage.

However, the Welshman fell to Michael Smith in the quarter-finals meaning that ‘Snakebite’ takes his place as world number one for this first time in his career.

Smith’s run to the UK Open final also saw him move above James Wade and into a career high fourth while winner Danny Noppert moves from 16th to 12th.

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