Michael Smith ended his two-year wait for a PDC title by claiming glory in the opening Winter Series event in…
Michael Smith ended his two-year wait for a PDC title by claiming glory in the opening Winter Series event in Coventry on Tuesday.
Smith had suffered ten consecutive defeats in finals since his last ranking triumph at a Players Championship event in April 2018.
The world number four, who was beaten by Wales’ Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in Sunday’s World Cup of Darts final for England alongside Rob Cross, made the perfect return to action less than 48 hours later.
Smith recorded three ton-plus averages in his opening four wins at the Ricoh Arena before digging deep in the latter stages to clinch the £10,000 title.
“It means everything to me to win this,” said an emotional Smith.
“I said to Ian White ‘I’m winning one of these titles this week no matter what’ and I’ve done it on Day One.
“I don’t give up. I believe in myself 100 per cent and this shows what you can achieve in life if you carry on.
“I’ve been averaging 100 all day until the final but I don’t care, I’ve finally got a ProTour win to my name after so long.”
Smith began his run with a 103.5 average in a 6-3 win over Callan Rydz before defeating Croatia’s Boris Krcmar 6-2.
He then averaged 105.8 in defeating Ryan Murray by the same scoreline before defying a staggering 108.6 average from Joe Cullen with a 103.5 of his own to prevail 6-4 in the Last 16.
The St Helens ace then dispatched Conan Whitehead 6-2 before battling back from 3-1 down to see off in-form Jose De Sousa 7-5 in the Semi-Finals.
The final was played at a frenetic pace and saw Smith hit the ground running with a sensational 170 checkout to break throw in the opening leg.
He then doubled his lead before Wattimena took out 96 and finished double one to level up, though a 103 checkout in response moved Smith 3-2 in front.
Wattimena restored parity again before Smith finished 90 on the bullseye and followed up with a 72 checkout to make it 5-3.
A 106 checkout kept the Dutchman in close order but only to bust his finish twice in the following leg and miss the chance to level.
Wattimena did peg back to just 6-5 behind, and after the pair traded legs once again, Smith picked out tops in leg 14 to complete the victory.
Wattimena’s wait for a maiden PDC crown goes on, but by reaching his third ranking final the Dutchman has boosted his chances of reaching next week’s Grand Slam of Darts as the highest-ranked non-automatic qualifier on the Winter Series Order of Merit.
The first of five consecutive Players Championship events at the Ricoh Arena also saw notable success for Conan Whitehead, who reached his first ProTour Quarter-Final since winning his Tour Card in 2019.
There was a shock early exit for Premier League champion Glen Durrant as he went down 6-5 to Jan Dekker on his return to competitive action.
World Cup winner Gerwyn Price was beaten by Martin Schindler – who averaged 103.5 in an inspired Second Round display.
De Sousa’s run to the Semi-Finals saw him register a trio of ton-plus averages, including a 107.6 in a 6-3 win over Peter Wright in the Quarter-Finals.
PDC Winter Series 2020 Event One Results
Tuesday November 10
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Harald Leitinger
Martin Schindler 6-5 David Pallett
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Maikel Verberk
Alan Tabern 6-1 Yordi Meeuwisse
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Kevin Doets 6-1 Martin Atkins
Steve Beaton 6-2 Ryan Searle
Jim Williams 6-3 Josh Payne
Devon Petersen 6-3 Mike De Decker
Scott Waites 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Gary Blades
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Ian White
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Gary Anderson
Luke Humphries 6-1 Darren Penhall
James Wade 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-1 Jonathan Worsley
Toni Alcinas 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Richard North
Rob Cross 6-5 Nick Kenny
Jason Lowe 6-1 Matt Clark
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Reece Robinson
Kirk Shepherd 6-0 Lisa Ashton
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Bradley Brooks
John Henderson 6-0 Barrie Bates
Damon Heta 6-2 Justin Pipe
Luke Woodhouse 6-0 Steve Brown
Jan Dekker 6-5 Glen Durrant
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Max Hopp
Derk Telnekes 6-2 David Evans
Peter Wright 6-2 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Chris Dobey 6-3 Ryan Meikle
Adam Hunt 6-4 Scott Mitchell
Ricky Evans 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Gavin Carlin 6-5 Daniel Larsson
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Steve West
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Aaron Beeney
Jose De Sousa 6-2 Jitse Van der Wal
Keegan Brown 6-3 Marko Kantele
Ross Smith 6-2 Darren Webster
Andy Boulton 6-3 Adrian Gray
Danny Noppert 6-4 Robert Thornton
Steve Lennon 6-4 Jesus Noguera
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Kai Fan Leung
Christian Bunse 6-5 Ted Evetts
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Ciaran Teehan
Scott Taylor 6-3 Robert Collins
William O’Connor 6-0 Ryan Joyce
William Borland 6-5 Wayne Jones
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Keane Barry 6-1 Scott Baker
Mervyn King 6-3 Richie Burnett
Conan Whitehead 6-1 Michael Barnard
Joe Cullen 6-5 Joe Murnan
Mark McGeeney 6-1 Peter Jacques
Madars Razma 6-3 Matthew Dennant
James Wilson 6-2 John Michael
Michael Smith 6-3 Callan Rydz
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Carl Wilkinson
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Jeff Smith
Ryan Murray 6-2 Benito van de Pas
Martin Schindler 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Alan Tabern
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Kevin Doets
Jim Williams 6-4 Steve Beaton
Scott Waites 6-2 Devon Petersen
Simon Stevenson 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Luke Humphries 6-5 Andy Hamilton
James Wade 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Toni Alcinas 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Rob Cross 6-4 Jason Lowe
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Kirk Shepherd
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 John Henderson
Damon Heta 6-3 Luke Woodhouse
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Jan Dekker
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Derk Telnekes
Peter Wright 6-1 Niels Zonneveld
Adam Hunt 6-4 Chris Dobey
Gavin Carlin 6-4 Ricky Evans
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Keegan Brown
Andy Boulton 6-5 Ross Smith
Danny Noppert 6-5 Steve Lennon
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Christian Bunse
Scott Taylor 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
William Borland 6-5 William O’Connor
Keane Barry 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Conan Whitehead 6-4 Mervyn King
Joe Cullen 6-0 Mark McGeeney
James Wilson 6-3 Madars Razma
Michael Smith 6-2 Boris Krcmar
Ryan Murray 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Vincent van der Voort 6-0 Martin Schindler
Jim Williams 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Scott Waites
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Luke Humphries
Toni Alcinas 6-2 James Wade
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Rob Cross
Damon Heta 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 6-2 Adam Hunt
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Gavin Carlin
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Andy Boulton
Danny Noppert 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
William Borland 6-5 Scott Taylor
Conan Whitehead 6-5 Keane Barry
Joe Cullen 6-5 James Wilson
Michael Smith 6-2 Ryan Murray
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Jim Williams
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Simon Stevenson
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Toni Alcinas
Damon Heta 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Peter Wright 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Danny Noppert
Conan Whitehead 6-2 William Borland
Michael Smith 6-4 Joe Cullen
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Brendan Dolan 6-0 Damon Heta
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-2 Conan Whitehead
Jermaine Wattimena 7-3 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 7-5 Jose De Sousa
Michael Smith 8-6 Jermaine Wattimena