Smith claims maiden World Series title

Michael Smith claims the Shanghai Masters title. Picture: Henry Yu/PDC
Michael Smith claims the Shanghai Masters title. Picture: Henry Yu/PDC

Michael Smith claimed a maiden World Series of Darts title with an 8-2 victory over Rob Cross in the final of the Shanghai Masters at the Pullman Hotel Shanghai South on Saturday.

The 2018 Premier League finalist from St Helens battled past the field to secure the £20,000 top prize and win a first televised title since winning the World Youth Championship in 2013.

Michael Smith in action. Picture: Henry Yu/PDC

Michael Smith in action. Picture: Henry Yu/PDC

Smith followed up his day one whitewash victory over Xiao Chen Zong with a 8-5 win over Royden Lam, who had become the first Asian qualifier in the history of the Shanghai Darts Masters to register a win after his victory over Gary Anderson the night before.

The semi-final stage saw Smith end world number one Michael van Gerwen’s run as Shanghai Darts Masters Champion with an impressive 8-4 win.

In truth it was a scrappy game between the pair with both averaging just over 90.

The real moment of quality in the match came from Van Gerwen as he took out a 170 finish in the seventh leg, however that was still not enough to deny Smith a place in his first ever World Series final as he went on to secure the win.

The 27-year-old came out the blocks quickly in the final, racing in to a 4-0 lead over Rob Cross, who was making his second final in a week after losing in the decider in Vegas seven days before.

Cross did manage to recover one of the breaks of throw to close the gap to two but a stunning 130 finish from Smith reopened the four leg lead, before the local lad secured the final two of the match to seal the win.

The victory gave Smith his 10th senior PDC title and the Englishman spoke of his delight after the final.

He said: “I have just won on stage and it feels amazing. It’s my third title of the year and after the Premier League I was getting doubts in my head whether I would get another chance to win a TV title, but I got it today.

“I didn’t play my best, but I was battling all the way, didn’t let my head drop and kept my spirits high.”

Smith now heads to the World Matchplay filled with confidence as he looks to claim another title for his growing collection.

“Two years ago I made a semi-final and that was all that was on my record. I didn’t get lucky in the Premier League – I was showing that I could battle, win matches and I finished second. I have a won a Pro Tour, World Series and the next is a major now. If I can do that in a calendar year then I will be happy.”