Michael van Gerwen produced a ruthless display to whitewash North American Champion Jeff Smith 8-0 and clinch his second bet365 US Darts Masters title in New York on Saturday.
Van Gerwen stormed to victory on a bumper night of action at Madison Square Garden, scooping the £20,000 top prize and securing a record-extending 18th World Series of Darts title in the process.
The Dutchman arrived in New York fresh from lifting a record seventh Premier League crown last Thursday, and he capped off a memorable ten days by adding to his title tally in the Big Apple.
Van Gerwen kicked off his campaign with a 6-2 win over Canadian newcomer Jake Macmillan, before overcoming Michael Smith’s conqueror Jim Long by the same scoreline in Saturday’s opener.
The Dutchman then fought back from 6-4 down to thwart Rob Cross in a gripping semi-final, defying 170 and 122 finishes from the former World Champion to win a World Series classic.
Cross wired the bull for a spectacular 167 finish in the decider, but Van Gerwen ran out a comprehensive winner in Saturday’s showpiece, demolishing Smith 8-0 to create another slice of history.
The three-time World Champion signalled his intent with a 103 checkout to draw first blood in 12 darts, and that set the tone for a dominant display.
Smith spurned three darts at double to level in leg two and he paid a heavy price, with Van Gerwen converting clinical 89 and 80 combination finishes to stretch his lead to 5-0.
The Canadian veteran squandered further opportunities to open his account in leg six, and he was denied another dart at double, as Van Gerwen sank a two-dart 76 kill in leg eight to complete the whitewash.
“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 celebrated his second North American Darts Championship success on Saturday afternoon, and he continued his dream weekend with a run to his maiden PDC televised final.
The Canadian – who accounted for world number two Peter Wright on Friday night – maintained his winning run with an inspired display against 2019 champion Nathan Aspinall.
Aspinall was on the receiving end of a sublime display of finishing following his own heroics on Friday, as Smith landed a brace of ton-plus finishes and pinned six of his seven attempts at double to triumph.
The 47-year-old then raised the roof with an extraordinary last-leg win over Luke Humphries, conjuring up a majestic 167 checkout to record his fifth win of the day at Madison Square Garden.
Humphries won through a high-quality quarter-final tie against Gerwyn Price to seal a place in his first World Series semi-final, despite a 104 average from the Welshman.
Meanwhile, Cross powered past Dimitri Van den Bergh in their last eight tussle, winning five straight legs from 2-1 down, only to succumb to eventual champion Van Gerwen in a pulsating contest.
Following the success of the PDC's latest event at Madison Square Garden, it has been confirmed that the World Series of Darts will return on June 7-8 2024 for the US Darts Masters and North American Championship.
The World Series of Darts continues next month with the inaugural Poland Darts Masters at COS Torwar in Warsaw on July 7-8.
PDCTV Subscription options include a £25 Summer Pass which includes live coverage of the remaining three global World Series of Darts events from June-August through PDCTV.
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