Michael Smith storms to UK Open Qualifier title in Wigan
Last Updated: 05/02/18 10:35am
Michael Smith whitewashed Zoran Lerchbacher 6-0 to claim the Coral UK Open Qualifier Three title as he ended nine-dart star Michael van Gerwen's unbeaten start to 2018.
Smith followed up Friday's run to the Qualifier One final by going all the way to claim the £10,000 top prize as the weekend's three events at Wigan's Robin Park Tennis Centre concluded.
Smith had lost out to Van Gerwen in the final of Friday's opening event, but gained revenge with an outstanding display to take a 6-1 triumph from their quarter-final.
He had reached the last eight by virtue of 6-0 whitewashes of Mark Wilson and Steve Beaton, while he also overcame Adam Hunt 6-2 and German newcomer Gabriel Clemens 6-3.
Smith's win over Van Gerwen - who also won his 100th PDC title in Qualifier Two on Saturday - was then followed by a 6-4 semi-final defeat of David Pallett, sealing the victory with a 132 bull-bull-double 16 combination.
The 27-year-old remained in clinical mood throughout the final, with Lerchbacher missing double 16 to claim the opening leg only to see Smith finish 78 to break and then take out 66 and 111 to lead 3-0.
Finishes of double 16 and double ten moved the Premier League star five legs clear, and he took out 89 in two darts to complete a fine performance and secure his eighth senior ranking title.
"My aim this year was to win four titles," said Smith. "Michael stopped me on Friday and that hurt me because I thought I was playing well, but I got my own back on him today.
"I think the closest game was David Pallett. He took me all the way to four-all but then missed a double and let me in to break, and then I checked the 132 out.
"To get my first title in the first weekend, I'll take that."
Van Gerwen's nine-dart finish - the third of the weekend in Wigan - came during his last-16 clash with fellow Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, before the world No 1 saw his hopes of completing a weekend treble ended by Smith.
The 2018 Premier League heads to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff next Thursday with coverage underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action. Fifteen weeks of tungsten action will continue through to the season's conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
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