Michael Smith emerges victorious against Michael van Gerwen on the second day of the PDC World Series of Darts event in New York, scooping the £20,000 title to end an exciting showcase for the sport at Madison Square Garden; the event will return again in 2023
Last Updated: 05/06/22 7:37pm
Michael Smith won his first US Darts Masters title in thrilling fashion on Saturday night, defeating Michael van Gerwen 8-4 in the final in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Smith, who had lost in the World Championship and UK Open finals earlier this year, but has won the final Premier League night in Newcastle and a European Tour title in the nine days before his Madison Square Garden success, proved too hot for the Dutchman in the final.
The Englishman had opened the tournament on Friday with victory over Doug Boehm, and began Saturday’s final stages with an 8-3 defeat of Gary Anderson.
He then landed eight 180s in an 8-6 semi-final win over World Champion Peter Wright, before coming from 3-1 and 4-3 down in the final to defeat Van Gerwen with 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 added: “I’m playing well and picking up titles, and it’s unreal the way things have swung in my favour.
“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.”
Leonard Gates enjoyed the biggest triumph of his career with victory in the North American Championship.
Texas star Gates secured the $10,000 title and a spot in the World Darts Championship with his 6-3 defeat of Danny Baggish.
The Houston thrower – a former Minor League baseball pitcher – said: “It’s amazing – the feeling is overwhelming. I’m so delighted and the World Championship is definitely something to look forward to.”
2022 US Darts Masters
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
The World Series of Darts continues next weekend with the Nordic Darts Masters at Forum Copenhagen on June 10-11.
World Series of Darts to return to US in 2023
The World Series of Darts will return to the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in 2023 following the success of the inaugural events in New York.
Over 7,000 fans attending across the three sessions as Smith won the US Darts Masters title and Houston’s Leonard Gates was victorious in the North American Championship.
The tournaments will return to New York on June 2-3 2023, giving fans another chance to see the sport’s best players taking on the cream of North American darts on the big stage.
“We’d had to wait four years to finally get to New York, but we’re already setting our sights on returning bigger and better in 2023,” Matt Porter, the PDC Chief Executive, said.
“The bet365 US Darts Masters and North American Championship have been a huge success and we’ve enjoyed two great days in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“This has been unquestionably our most successful event ever in America, and the crowds we had at Madison Square Garden – particularly on Saturday night – were hugely encouraging for the future of these events.
“When you consider the continued improvement of players from across North America through the Championship Darts Corporation circuit, the sport is in fantastic shape on this side of the Atlantic.”
Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts. We’re back for the Premier League Play-Offs in Berlin on Monday, June 13 – live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event from 7pm.