Michael van Gerwen to face Jeff Smith at US Darts Masters

Michael van Gerwen will begin his defence of the William Hill US Darts Masters title against new William Hill North American Championship winner Jeff Smith in Las Vegas on Friday.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen beat Daryl Gurney in last year’s inaugural Vegas final and will face a man in form on Friday after Smith capped a memorable week in the desert with victory in Thursday’s North American Championship.

The Canadian will hope to go even better with a victory against the world No 1 as the World Series of Darts event gets underway with the first round that will see eight north American qualifiers taking on eight of the world’s finest players.

Two days of competition at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino will give fans a feast of tungsten to watch after the draw for the first round pitting MVG with Smith after he claimed the $10,000 winners cheque and a place at the William Hill World Darts Championship.

World No 2 Peter Wright is the top seed based on the World Series of Darts rankings and he will face American qualifier Joseph Huffman, while world champion Rob Cross makes his Vegas debut against Canada’s Ross Snook.

North American Championship runner-up John Norman Jnr goes up against 2017 runner-up and World Grand Prix champion, while two-time world champion Gary Anderson meets America’s DJ Sayre.

Left-handers James Wade and Danny Lauby will face off, while Gerwyn Price drew top Canadian youngster Dawson Murschell and Michael Smith plays David Cameron.

Following Friday’s first round, the tournament concludes on Saturday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

William Hill US Darts Masters First Round Draw

(1) Peter Wright v Joseph Huffman

Daryl Gurney v John Norman Jnr

(4) Rob Cross v Ross Snook

Michael Smith v David Cameron

(2) Gary Anderson v DJ Sayre

Gerwyn Price v Dawson Murschell

(3) Michael van Gerwen v Jeff Smith

James Wade v Danny Lauby

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens in July for the World Matchplay, when 16-time world champion Phil Taylor will be with us – nine days of tungsten from Blackpool get underway on Saturday, July 21 and will run through to the final on Sunday, July 29.

Stick with us for news, views and interviews and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts – don’t forget to use #LoveTheDarts.