American ace Leonard Gates caused a sensation in the bet365 US Darts Masters with a memorable win over Fallon Sherrock as the PDC World Series of Darts event began in New York on Friday.
The eagerly-awaited tournament in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden began in style as Gates won through to Saturday's final stages.
He came from a leg down to lead 4-1 against Sherrock, who hit back in leg six but was unable to prevent Gates closing out the win with finishes of 70 and 82.
"The energy was something I've never experienced here in North America before - it was great!" admitted Gates.
"It wasn't her A-game but she's done a lot of great things for darts and women's darts, and I applaud her. She's definitely the crowd favourite but I had to play my game."
Gates now plays World Champion and world number one Peter Wright, who held off a stern challenge from top-ranked American Danny Baggish before claiming a 6-4 win.
Florida's Baggish led 2-1 early on, but a 121 finish for a 12-darter from Wright in leg four sparked a run of three successive legs to put him in command.
"The crowd tonight was all behind USA and darts is the winner tonight - we're lucky to be playing here in New York," said Wright, who wore a specially-designed shirt themed on a New York taxi.
"I missed a few doubles here and there but I don't think I had the right glasses on and I'll have to try my normal ones tomorrow.
"I was a little bit rusty but I'll brush up on that. I want to be the first one to win this tournament but there's a long way to go yet."
Former US Darts Masters champion Gary Anderson began his bid to win a second title in the event with a 6-3 win over Matt Campbell - despite the Scot needing to play with borrowed darts.
Anderson now meets Michael Smith in the quarter-finals on Saturday's final day of action, after the former Shanghai Darts Masters winner overcame big-stage debutant Doug Boehm 6-3.
2017 winner Michael van Gerwen was a 6-4 winner against Dutch-born American Jules van Dongen in an entertaining contest.
Van Dongen hit back from 3-0 down to trail 4-3 with legs of 13, 12 and 14 darts, but paid for missing his chance to level in leg eight before Van Gerwen closed out the win.
"I'm happy to win," said Van Gerwen. "I let him into the game but it's the game of his life - his first time in front of his home crowd but I did the right thing at the end."
Van Gerwen now plays James Wade in the last eight, with the left-hander running out a 6-2 winner against Canadian number one Jeff Smith after producing a finishing master-class with six doubles from as many attempts, finishing 116 and 124 in the process.
Gerwyn Price overcame a scare against Canada's David Cameron before progressing to the last eight with a 6-4 success.
Cameron hit back from 2-0 down to level with a 124 checkout and also wiped out a two-leg deficit to square the contest after eight legs - but he paid for missing a dart at tops to lead in the ninth before Price pounced to seal the win.
Price now faces an all-Welsh quarter-final with World Cup team-mate Jonny Clayton, who was a comfortable 6-2 winner against emerging American Danny Lauby.
The World Series of Darts event will conclude on Saturday evening with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the Hulu Theater.
In addition, Saturday's afternoon session will feature the bet365 North American Championship, as the eight US and Canadian stars battle for that title and a place in the 2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship.
The bet365 US Darts Masters will be broadcast live through DAZN in the US and Canada, as well as in various other worldwide territories and exclusively in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Other live global coverage will be broadcast through Viaplay in various territories including the Netherlands, as well as via PDCTV in all countries outside Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
PDCTV Subscription options include a £25 Summer Pass which includes live coverage of all six global World Series of Darts events in June and August through video.pdc.tv/subscribe.
2022 bet365 US Darts Masters
Friday June 3
Michael Smith 6-3 Doug Boehm
James Wade 6-2 Jeff Smith
Gary Anderson 6-3 Matt Campbell
Leonard Gates 6-2 Fallon Sherrock
Peter Wright 6-4 Danny Baggish
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Jules van Dongen
Gerwyn Price 6-4 David Cameron
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Danny Lauby
Saturday June 4
Afternoon Session (1300 EST)
bet365 North American Championship
Jeff Smith v David Cameron
Jules van Dongen v Leonard Gates
Matt Campbell v Danny Lauby
Danny Baggish v Doug Boehm
Smith/Cameron v Van Dongen/Gates
Campbell/Lauby v Baggish/Boehm
Best of 11 legs.
Evening Session (1930 EST)
bet365 US Darts Masters
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Leonard Gates
Gerwyn Price v Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Wright/Gates v Smith/Anderson
Price/Clayton v Van Gerwen/Wade
Best of 15 legs.