MICHAEL SMITH claimed a maiden World Series of Darts title with an 8-2 victory over Rob Cross in the final of the 21.co.uk Shanghai Darts Masters at the Pullman Hotel Shanghai South on Saturday.
The 2018 Premier League finalist 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.
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 man from St.Helen's secured the final two of the match to seal the win.
The victory gave Smith his tenth senior PDC title and the Englishman spoke of his delight after the final.
“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.”
Rob Cross began the final day of action in style beating James Wade 8-3 with an average of 106 to progress to the last four.
There, the World Champion met Peter Wright where once again Cross would prove too strong for his opponent, coming out an 8-5 winner but ultimately ran out of steam in the final against Smith.
“In fairness, Michael deserved that – I was useless. At the same time, I can’t be disappointed… I felt knackered when I started and come the final I just didn’t have the energy left, I thought I was lucky to hit the dartboard – but fair play to Michael,” said the 27-year-old.
Cross added: “I'm feeling happy with my game at the moment, but today was just about having no energy – there just wasn’t enough there to carry me through.”
The world's top players now head to Blackpool for the start of the BetVictor World Matchplay taking place between 21-29 July before heading Down Under for the final three World Series events in August.
21.co.uk Shanghai Darts Masters
Saturday July 14 (6.30pm local time)
Royden Lam 5-8 Michael Smith
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
All games best of 15 legs