Michael Smith secured his second World Series title at the 2022 US Darts Masters courtesy of an 8-4 victory over…
Michael Smith secured his second World Series title at the 2022 US Darts Masters courtesy of an 8-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the final in New York.
Shanghai Masters champion in 2018, Smith doubled his tally in style at the Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden, picking up the £20,000 top prize to continue his blistering winning streak.
Having won Night 16 of the Premier League and the Dutch Darts Championship, ‘Bully Boy’ made it three titles inside ten days and extended his unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Smith had opened the tournament on Friday with victory over American qualifier Doug Boehm, and began Saturday’s final stages with an 8-3 defeat of Gary Anderson in the Last Eight.
He then landed eight 180s in an 8-6 Semi-Final win over World Champion Peter Wright, before recovering from 3-1 and 4-3 down in the final to defeat Van Gerwen with the aid of five straight legs.
Van Gerwen had finished 130 in leg seven to restore his advantage, but Smith hit back with a 100 checkout, moved ahead with tops and then produced legs of 14, 14 and 12 darts to wrap up the title.
“I’ve won tournaments before but it’s unreal to win at Madison Square Garden,” said Smith. “Everyone wanted to win this event and it’s unreal for me to be that person.
“I’ve just won a tournament in the most iconic venue in the world, and I’m the first person to do it. I’m ecstatic.
“I wasn’t playing my best darts, but I put in a decent second half in the final. I did that earlier against Peter too and long may it continue.
“Michael’s the same, we’re capable of putting in four or five legs on the spin with no reply, and luckily I did.”
Smith had lost in the World Championship and UK Open finals earlier this year, but has since embarked on an emphatic winning run which also included back-to-back Players Championship titles.
“I’m playing well and picking up titles, and it’s unreal the way things have swung in my favour,” he added.
“Since I won the last night of the Premier League, my confidence has grown and grown. I wasn’t chasing results, I was chasing wins and I’ve just won the first ever tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“Now that I’m making finals each week and winning them – and the way I’m winning them – is massive for my confidence and self-belief.”
Van Gerwen followed up Friday’s First Round win over Jules van Dongen by seeing off James Wade 8-3 in the Quarter-Finals.
He then averaged 99.6 in an 8-4 Semi-Final defeat of Gerwyn Price, but was to be denied a second US Darts Masters title.
“Of course I want to win, but Michael played a really good game and you have to take your hat off and say congratulations,” said Van Gerwen.
“This is special but I can say that I didn’t win, Michael didn’t win – I think darts won tonight especially here in America.
“I think this is a massive step forward for the professionalisation of darts in general and the global sport of darts.”
Price had reached the Last Four with a narrow 8-7 win over Jonny Clayton in a gripping all-Welsh clash, while Wright was an 8-3 Quarter-Final winner over newly-crowned North American Champion Leonard Gates.
US Darts Masters 2022 – Day Two Results
Saturday June 4
Michael Smith 8-3 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 8-3 Leonard Gates
Gerwyn Price 8-7 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 8-3 James Wade
Michael Smith 8-6 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 8-4 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 8-4 Michael van Gerwen