Jeffrey de Graaf sparks Ally Pally magic with sensational comeback win

First time winner, Jeffrey de Graaf joined SportsBoom’s Louis Hobbs, following his dramatic comeback victory against Ritchie Edhouse in the first round of the PDC World Championships.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2023-12-20

5 minutes read

The comeback kid

On his return to a PDC stage, Jeffrey de Graaf secured his first-round win against Ritchie Edhouse in a nail-biting encounter at the Alexandra Palace. The victory marked a significant milestone for the 33-year-old, who expressed his elation at winning on the prestigious Ally Pally stage for the very first time. 


De Graaf who had qualified for the tournament on two occasions prior, conveyed his joy, saying: "It feels great. I've been looking forward to winning a game on the Ally Pally stage. I've qualified a few times now, so to get my first win, it's a dream come true."


The match unfolded with intense drama, as de Graaf found himself facing a match dart to lose the fixture three sets to zero. However, the composed player mounted a comeback for the ages, showcasing his grit and determination. 


Despite a moment of disappointment after losing the second set, de Graaf gathered himself, exhibiting mental resilience. "I felt horrible. I just needed to calm myself down and just keep on playing well. I got the chance to get back into the game, and I took it. I just had to convince myself that I was capable of doing so," he shared.

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I never gave up. When he had the shot at double, I felt like it was over because he hadn't missed anything on the doubles until that point. He did a few 100 plus finishes as well. So, when he got the chance, I felt like it was done. But he missed it.

Jeffrey on the pressure Edhouse put him under during the first two sets

The famous Ally Pally stage

Returning to the Ally Pally stage after a five-year hiatus, de Graaf expressed his love for the grandeur of the event, stating: “Yeah, it's a great stage. I love playing for the world; it's a great experience, and what a way to make my comeback. I didn't expect it this way, but I'm just happy to finally win a game at the worlds."


The victory holds particular significance for de Graaf as it marks his first win in any World Championships, be it in the BDO or PDC. Looking ahead to the next challenge, he remains confident, stating: “Now we just keep the momentum going.” 


As de Graaf prepares to face Portuguese star Jose De Sousa in the next round, he sees an opportunity to continue his successful run. 

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If I bring my A game, I feel like I can win most games. He hasn't been playing his best recently, so if he doesn't bring his A game, then I definitely have a chance to win.

Jeffrey discussing his chances against José de Sousa


Representing Sweden, and the PDC Nordic Tour

Additionally, de Graaf also touched on his recent decision to represent his hometown, Sweden, rather than his place of birth, the Netherlands. De Graaf explained his reasoning, whilst highlighting the role of the PDC’s Nordic Tour in his choice. 

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The Nordic tour has played a big part in my decision. I moved back to Sweden to allow me to play more games and qualify for more tournaments. It always been hard for me to travel around and access all the tournaments. But with the Nordic Tour, it makes it more affordable for me.

Jeffrey on being able to play in the PDC Nordic Tour

Q School on the horizon?

With the confidence gained from his first World Championship win, de Graaf also looked ahead to future challenges, including the possibility of participating in Q School. 

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My game is good enough to be a tour card holder, but it's just very inconsistent at the moment. I just need to play a steady stream of competitive games to increase my consistency. Unless I progress to the latter stages of this tournament, I’ll definitely be participating in next year’s Q School.

Jeffrey on whether he'll enter Q School in 2024

In a game that showcased resilience, determination, and a triumphant comeback, Jeffrey de Graaf has announced his arrival on the PDC World Championships stage with a victory that has set the tone for his journey in the tournament. 

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Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.