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US Darts Masters first round results: Luke Littler makes dream Madison Square Garden debut

Luke Littler enjoyed a dream debut on the opening night of the 2024 bet365 US Darts Masters, as Jeff Smith continued his New York love-affair with victory over former champion Michael Smith.

Day One of the World Series of Darts event saw Littler take centre stage at Madison Square Garden, as the teenage sensation powered past Canadian number one Matt Campbell with a 103.66 average.

Littler was roared on by a partisan American crowd after using Cody Rhodes’ entrance music, having received a message from the undisputed WWE Champion on Thursday.

“I couldn’t wait to get on that stage tonight,” revealed Littler, making his first competitive appearance since his incredible Premier League triumph at London’s O2.

“I felt really comfortable and everything just went well. I can’t wait to play tomorrow now.

“With the amount of top athletes that have performed here, it would mean the world to lift this trophy, and hopefully I can go all the way.”

Friday’s opening night saw eight first-round ties take place in The Theater, with last year’s runner-up Smith the solitary North American representative to topple a PDC superstar.

The reigning North American champion punished a below-par display from 2023 World Champion Smith to celebrate a 6-1 success, pinning six of his nine attempts at double to prevail.

“I absolutely love New York. This city has pretty much adopted me,” reflected Smith, who will take on Littler for a place in the semi-finals.

“I’m Jeff Smith, I’m not worried about Luke Littler. He’s a generational talent, there’s no doubt about that, but I just have to worry about what I do.

“I’m here with a point to prove, and that’s it. Me reaching the final wasn’t a fluke last year, and I want to come back and compete again.”

Fresh from celebrating his engagement to his fiancée Kayley on Thursday, World Champion Luke Humphries whitewashed Canadian veteran David Cameron to continue his memorable week in the Big Apple.

“I felt a little bit nervous tonight because I wanted to put on a show and entertain the crowd,” admitted Humphries, who now faces Nathan Aspinall in a blockbuster last eight tussle.

“I’m expecting a tough game tomorrow, as I always expect from Nathan. He’s one of the best players in the world, and if we’re both at our best it will be a fantastic game.

“This is always going to be a special time for me, regardless of what happens tomorrow, but I’m here to win a tournament now, and that would top off what’s been a great week.”

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen began his defence of the title with a 6-1 win over Danny Lauby, reeling off six straight legs to continue his bid for a record-extending third US Darts Masters crown.

“The performance wasn’t really there tonight, but tomorrow we’re going to battle with the big boys,” declared Van Gerwen, who now faces 2018 World Champion Rob Cross.

“Rob Cross is a fantastic dart player. He’s probably one of the most underestimated players on the tour, but tomorrow is a different day.

“It would be nice to win the title for a second year running, but I can’t afford to make any mistakes, because they can be made very quickly.”

Elsewhere, Peter Wright won through an edgy last-leg shoot-out against CDC Cross Border Challenge winner Alex Spellman, producing a 14-dart hold in the decider to book his place in the quarter-finals.

Spellman followed up a 150 checkout in leg five with a spectacular 167 skin-saver on his way to forcing a decider, although Wright fended off the American with a nerveless two-dart 100 finish to progress.

Wright’s reward is a quarter-final showdown against Gerwyn Price, who defied 18 missed darts at double to overcome Jules van Dongen, crashing in six 180s to complete a 6-3 victory.

2019 champion Aspinall impressed in his 6-2 drubbing of Grand Slam quarter-finalist Stowe Buntz, while Cross eased to a comprehensive 6-1 victory against big stage debutant Adam Sevada.

The US Darts Masters will conclude on Saturday evening, as the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place in a bumper session at Madison Square Garden.

Saturday's afternoon session will feature the bet365 North American Championship, as the eight US and Canadian stars battle for the coveted title and places in the World Darts Championship and Grand Slam of Darts.


2024 US Darts Masters

Friday May 31 - First Round

Rob Cross 6-1 Adam Sevada
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Stowe Buntz
Peter Wright 6-5 Alex Spellman
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jules van Dongen
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Danny Lauby
Luke Humphries 6-0 David Cameron
Luke Littler 6-0 Matt Campbell
Jeff Smith 6-1 Michael Smith


Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Luke Humphries v Nathan Aspinall
Luke Littler v Jeff Smith
Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright


Van Gerwen/Cross v Humphries/Aspinall
Littler/J Smith v Price/Wright

Best of 15 legs

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