Michael Smith was victorious at the Shanghai Darts Masters on Saturday as ‘Bully Boy’ claimed his first World Series title. The St Helens ace romped to victory as he enjoyed a convincing 8-2 success over the World Champion Rob Cross.
Smith averaged 97.03 in the final as he cruised to victory, Cross had it all to do as Smith raced into a 4-0 lead early on, and despite winning two legs on-the-spin, Smith closed the match out with a string of superb legs which included a superb 130 finish. Smith’s range on his reliable D10 was stunning as he jubilantly triumphed in Shanghai.
Despite the convincing victory in the final, Smith arguably did the hard work earlier on in the day as he took apart the World no.1 Michael van Gerwen in an 8-4 victory over the Dutchman who suffered his first ever defeat in Shanghai, which ended his great run in the Chinese tournament in what was the third staging of the event.
In their Semi-Final clash, Smith yet again came flying out of the blocks, and much like in the final, Smith raced into a 4-0 lead as he punished a poor display of finishing from the World no.1.
But, as you’d expect, Van Gerwen came firing back as he produced a sensational 170 finish to reduce the arrears to 4-3. The pair were inseparable at this stage as there was just one leg in it.
The turning point for Smith came in leg ten as he pulled out a superb 12-dart leg to move 6-4 ahead as Van Gerwen’s path to the final looked more and more difficult.
Smith then produced a 14-dart leg to move 7-4 clear as he pinned his favourite D10. Van Gerwen did have an opportunity to prolong the contest, but Smith picked out D10 once more to complete a stunning 8-4 victory.
“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.”
– Michael Smith
Shanghai Darts Masters 2018
Michael Smith 8-5 Royden Lam
Michael van Gerwen 8-4 Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross 8-3 James Wade
Peter Wright 8-7 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 8-4 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 8-5 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 8-2 Rob Cross
Image credit : Henry Yu – YouSports / PDC