Van Gerwen wins back-to-back TV titles as Mighty Mike is king in New York
On Saturday, Michael van Gerwen dominated North American Champion Jeff Smith 8-0 to win his second bet365 US Darts Masters championship in New York.
Van Gerwen surged to win on a raucous night of darts action at Madison Square Garden, taking the £20,000 top prize and securing his 18th World Series of Darts title.
The Dutchman came to New York after winning a record seventh Premier League title last Thursday, and he closed off a remarkable ten days by adding to his title total.
Van Gerwen began his campaign with a 6-2 victory over Canadian debutant Jake Macmillan, before defeating Michael Smith’s conqueror Jim Long by the same scoreline in Saturday’s opening tie.
The Dutchman then rallied from a 6-4 deficit to defeat Rob Cross in a nail-biting semi-final, defeating 170 and 122 finishes from the former World Champion to win a World Series classic.
Cross wired the bull for a magnificent 167 finish in the decider, but Van Gerwen stormed away with the showpiece on Saturday, defeating Smith 8-0 to make another piece of history.
The three-time World Champion set the tone for his impressive performance with a 103 checkout to draw first blood in 12 darts.
Smith missed three darts at double to tie the match in leg two, and he paid dearly for it, as Van Gerwen converted clinical 89 and 80 combo finishes to extend his advantage to 5-0.
The Canadian veteran squandered more chances to open his account in leg six, and he was denied another dart at double as Van Gerwen completed the whitewash with a two-dart 76 kill in leg eight
“It means a lot to me to win this trophy,” insisted Van Gerwen, featuring in his 50th World Series of Darts event.
“It was our second year here at Madison Square Garden and I have never won a title at such an iconic venue like this, so it’s another one off the bucket list!
“I had three big wins, but the game against Rob Cross was a bit weird.
“You need to try to keep your focus. It’s not easy but I managed to do it, and to finish it off with an 11-darter always gives you a lot of pleasure.
“Jeff definitely ran out of steam in the final. He had a really tough day and that’s part of darts unfortunately, but I took advantage. I am glad I won. I am a proud man.”
Smith won his second North American Darts Championship on Saturday afternoon, and he followed that up with a run to his first PDC televised final.
The Canadian, who defeated world number two Peter Wright on Friday night, extended his winning streak with an amazing performance against 2019 champion Nathan Aspinall.
Following his own exploits on Friday, Aspinall was the recipient of a remarkable exhibition of finishing, as Smith struck a pair of ton-plus finishes and pinned six of his seven tries at double to win.
The 47-year-old then raised the roof with an incredible last-leg victory over Luke Humphries, conjuring out a breathtaking 167 checkout to claim his fifth victory of the day at Madison Square Garden.
Humphries defeated Gerwyn Price in a high-quality quarter-final encounter to advance to his first World Series semi-final, despite the Welshman’s 104 average.
Meanwhile, Cross defeated Dimitri Van den Bergh in their last eight match, winning five straight legs from a 2-1 deficit, only to lose to eventual winner Van Gerwen in a nail-biter.
Following the success of the PDC’s most recent event at Madison Square Garden, the World Series of Darts has confirmed that the US Darts Masters and North American Championship will be held on June 7-8, 2024.
The World Series of Darts returns next month with the inaugural Poland Darts Masters, which will be held on July 7-8 at COS Torwar in Warsaw.
2023 bet365 US Darts Masters
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Jim Long
Rob Cross 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Luke Humphries 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Jeff Smith 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Rob Cross
Jeff Smith 7-6 Luke Humphries
Michael van Gerwen 8-0 Jeff Smith