Nathan Aspinall marked a fairy-tale World Series debut by claiming the 2019 US Masters title with an 8-4 victory over…
Aspinall lifts his second televised title in the space of four months (credit:Lucas Peltier/PDC)
Nathan Aspinall marked a fairy-tale World Series debut by claiming the 2019 US Masters title with an 8-4 victory over Michael Smith in the final in Vegas on Friday.
Just four months on from his maiden televised title at the UK Open, ‘The Asp’ continued his remarkable progress by becoming the latest new winner of a World Series event at the first time of asking.
The 27-year-old scooped the £20,000 top prize and underlined his position as one of the sport’s hottest young properties.
“The UK Open was massive for me and I just wanted to come to Vegas and make a good show of myself,” said Aspinall. “I’ve won it, so happy days!”
“I’ve never had a performance like that on stage and to do it in the final, I’m a very happy man.
“I don’t play in tournaments to make the numbers up, I’m a winner.
“To come out on top and win the whole thing is brilliant. I’m enjoying life, loving my darts and reaping the rewards for the hard work I’ve been putting in.
“I’ve had an incredible time in Vegas. The crowd were on my side from the start and gave me brilliant support – and hopefully I’ll be here next year to defend my title.”
The Stockport star began the final day at the Mandalay Bay Resort with an 8-5 victory over Rob Cross in a match which signalled a repeat of March’s UK Open final.
Aspinall then posted another ton-plus average (104.2) as he edged out Peter Wright in a last-leg decider in the Semi-Finals, surviving one match dart from the Scot along the way.
That performance also included five 180s and a high checkout of 161 and set the tone for a scintillating final showing soon after.
He began the final with a clinical 10-dart leg which included a bounce-out and kicked off the second with back-to-back 180s, but only for Smith to take out 130 to level.
Aspinall landed double four to regain the lead, and after Smith finished 86 in leg four, the world number 13 responded with a 70 finish to make it 3-2.
A pivotal moment saw Aspinall produce a 120 checkout to move two clear, but back came Smith with successive checkouts of 118 and 87 to restore parity.
Aspinall, though, powered clear with double 18, followed by checkouts of 95 and 80 to make it 7-4, before converting tops for a 13-darter to seal victory with a blistering 106.7 average, five 180s and eight from eleven on the doubles.
Smith was aiming to land his second World Series title, following on from last year’s Shanghai Masters, but fell narrowly short despite a superb display.
“Nathan was too good then,” admitted Smith. “If I could have found my first dart when it was four-all, maybe it could have been different.
“I’ve been in the final of the Worlds, semis of the UK Open and the final today so it’s not too bad.”
The St Helens ace inflicted his first defeat on Michael van Gerwen for the first time in 12 months with an 8-6 triumph in the Quarter-Finals.
Van Gerwen, the 2017 US Masters champion who defeated Smith in January’s World Championship final, averaged just 88.5 on a night to forget in the sin city.
Gary Anderson was denied revenge for his Grand Slam final defeat to rival Gerywn Price as the Welshman prevailed 8-6 in their Quarter-Final tie with six 180s to his name.
After dethroning the defending champion, Price was then halted by Smith – who ran out an 8-4 winner in the Last Four with a 101.7 average and five 180s.
US Darts Masters 2019 Results
Friday July 5
Michael van Gerwen 6-8 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 6-8 Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross 5-8 Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney 6-8 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 8-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 8-7 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 8-4 Michael Smith