The 2020 Ladbrokes Darts Masters commenced tonight at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

The tournament features the top 16 players on the PDC Order of Merit. Tonight featured 4 first round matches from the top half of the draw. What stories and drama will unfold on the first night in Milton Keynes.

Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic

First match up tonight was St Helen’s Michael Smith taking on Austria’s Mensur Suljovic. These two met at this stage two years ago where Suljovic won 10-8! Will Smith gain his revenge? Or will Mensur maintain his dominance in their head to head record?

Leg 1

A fantastic start from Mensur! He begins the 2020 Masters in style thanks to a superb 124 finish on the bull for first blood! Smith 0-1 Suljovic.

Leg 2

Suljovic fires in the first maximum of the tournament to set up 83 and he duly takes it out on double 9 to double his lead! Smith 0-2 Suljovic.

Leg 3

Smith fires home his first maximum of the night and then takes out 71 on double 10 to break instantly back! Smith 1-2 Suljovic.

Leg 4

Suljovic fires home his second maximum but it’s Smith who wins the leg, taking out 100 on tops for a fantastic 11 darter to level the contest! Smith 2-2 Suljovic.

Leg 5

Smith begins the fifth leg with his 2nd maximum, but it’s Suljovic who gets first poke at a double! However he misses one dart at tops for a 120 finish and Smith capitalises, taking out 72 on tops to go ahead for the first time at the break! Smith 3-2 Suljovic.

Leg 6

Smith keeps the run going after the break, taking out 52 on double 10 to make it four legs in a row! Smith 4-2 Suljovic.

Leg 7

Smith hits his 3rd 180 in the seventh but misses bull for a 85 finish. He returns however to sink double 10 for five on the spin after Suljovic fails to take out 120! Smith 5-2 Suljovic.

Leg 8

Suljovic begins the leg with his 3rd maximum, then misses the bull for a 127 finish! But he returns to pick out double 8 for a 14 darter to stop the rot! Smith 5-3 Suljovic.

Leg 9

Smith makes it 6 legs in 7! Suljovic fails to take out 100 and Smith picks out double 10 last dart for a three leg cushion! Smith 6-3 Suljovic.

Leg 10

Awesome darts from Smith in the 10th! He fires in back to back scores of 140 and a 129 to leave himself 92, which he takes it out in two on double 16 for an 11 darter and a four leg lead going into the second break! Smith 7-3 Suljovic.

Leg 11

Smith fires in his 4th maximum of the match but then misses two darts at tops to go 8-3 ahead. Suljovic lets him off the hook by missing two at double 16 and Smith makes no mistake, pinning double 5 last dart to go within two of victory! Smith 8-3 Suljovic.

Leg 12

Smith misses double 15 for a 110 finish and Suljovic takes out double 10 second dart to put his hopes back on track! Smith 8-4 Suljovic.

Leg 13

Suljovic fires in his 4th maximum, then puts away 72 on double 16 to claw another leg back in this match! Smith 8-5 Suljovic.

Leg 14

Suljovic begins leg 14 with his 5th maximum but then misses two darts at double 14 and double 7 for an 88 finish. He then returns to hit that very target for three in a row and keep the comeback going! Smith 8-6 Suljovic.

Leg 15

Huge moment in this match! Suljovic misses tops and tens on 100 to go within one of Smith but Bully Boy fires in a timely finish of 113 on tops to go within a leg of victory! Smith 9-6 Suljovic.

Leg 16

Smith finishes the match in style! He leaves 41 after 9 darts (including two 180’s) and takes it out on double 16 for an 11 darter to become the first man through to the quarter finals!

Final score Smith 10-6 Suljovic!

Nathan Aspinall v James Wade

Second match tonight was the reigning UK Open and US Masters champion Nathan Aspinall taking on nine time major winner James Wade. Will the Asp slither to prevail? Or will the Machine cut him down to size?

Leg 1

It’s Wade who gets first shot at the double, missing double top for a 104 checkout. Aspinall then suffers an unlucky bounceout on tops when trying to checkout out on 68 and Wade posts his favourite double 10 for first blood! Aspinall 0-1 Wade.

Leg 2

Aspinall races in the second leg, missing double 8 for an 84 finish but returns to nail it last dart to level up the match. Aspinall 1-1 Wade.

Leg 3

Bit of a scrappy leg here! Aspinall misses two darts at double 16 to go ahead before Wade misses three at double to give Aspinall a second chance. The Stopfordian then misses three darts at double himself, allowing Wade to hit the madhouse (double 1) to retake the lead! Aspinall 1-2 Wade.

Leg 4

Wade comes close to making it 3-1 but misses the bull for a 121 finish. Aspinall misses double 14 for a 104 finish, allowing Wade a second bite at the cherry. But he unexpectedly misses two darts at his favourite double 10 and Aspinall makes no mistake on double 14 this time to level the match up again! Aspinall 2-2 Wade.

Leg 5

Aspinall misses tops for a 116 finish but then returns to hit double 10 to break, at the break, after Wade missed double 7 for an 82 finish! Aspinall 3-2 Wade.

Leg 6

Aspinall fires in his first maximum of the match, then takes out 96 on double 9 for three in a row after Wade missed double 10 for a 140 finish! Aspinall 4-2 Wade.

Leg 7

All plain sailing for Wade in the seventh and he tucks home double 10 second dart to stop the rot! Aspinall 4-3 Wade.

Leg 8

Two missed darts at double 8 at 76 prove very costly for Aspinall as Wade takes out 58 on tops to break and level up this match! Aspinall 4-4 Wade.

Leg 9

Wade misses tops and tens to retake the lead but Aspinall can’t take advantage after missing tops for an 82 finish. Wade then misses three at double 5 and the Asp hits the same target for an instant break back! Aspinall 5-4 Wade.

Leg 10

Aspinall misses a dart at tops for a 73 finish but returns to hit it next visit after Wade fails to take out 156! Aspinall 6-4 Wade at the second break.

Leg 11

Wade makes a fatal error in the 11th, missing the big 12 when trying to checkout out 81 and Aspinall punishes his mistake by hitting double 16 final dart to break throw again! Aspinall 7-4 Wade.

Leg 12

Aspinall puts in his best leg of the match in the 12th, taking out double 16 for a 13 darter and a four leg gap! Aspinall 8-4 Wade.

Leg 13

More misery for Wade on the outer ring as he missed two at double 18 for a 61 finish and Aspinall takes out 94 on tops to within one of the quarter finals. Aspinall 9-4 Wade.

Leg 14

Aspinall misses double 12 for a match closing 101 finish but returns to hit double 3 last dart for victory after Wade once again misses two at double 18 to save the match. The Asp is through to the quarters as Wade looks back on a disappointing night!

Final score: Aspinall 10-4 Wade.

Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton

The third match up was the reigning and five times Masters champion Michael van Gerwen taking on 45 year old Welshman Jonny Clayton. Can the Ferret cause a major upset? Or will Van Gerwen maintain his unbeaten run at Milton Keynes?

Leg 1

Van Gerwen leaves himself on tops after 15 darts but it’s Clayton who picks his pocket with a 92 checkout on double 16 for an instant break of throw! Van Gerwen 0-1 Clayton.

Leg 2

Clayton puts in his first maximum of the game but then misses the bull for a 130 finish. Van Gerwen also hits his first 180 to leave himself 87, but Clayton takes out double 8 with the last dart in hand to consolidate the break! Van Gerwen 0-2 Clayton.

Leg 3

Van Gerwen nails his 2nd maximum but then misses tops for an 68 checkout. But the world number one can only watch as Clayton tucks in a superb 116 checkout on tops to put the reigning champion in a spot of bother! Van Gerwen 0-3 Clayton.

Leg 4

Van Gerwen misses bull for a 164 finish but he returns to pick out double 8 to finally get on the board! Van Gerwen 1-3 Clayton.

Leg 5

Clayton hits his 2nd 180 of the match but then makes a horrific error when taking out 82, busting with the third dart when attempting to hit double 8. Van Gerwen is unable to hit tops and tens to steal it and Clayton makes no mistake on 82 this time, taking out tops for a commanding lead at the first break! Van Gerwen 1-4 Clayton.

Leg 6

Van Gerwen misses three darts at doubles to claw a leg back but eventually pins double 3 for the leg after Clayton missed three at double himself to go four ahead! Van Gerwen 2-4 Clayton.

Leg 7

A third maximum is put away by Van Gerwen but despite the Dutchman missing double 16 for an 81 finish, he returns to hit that very target to go within one of Clayton! Van Gerwen 3-4 Clayton.

Leg 8

Clayton fires home his 3rd maximum at the start of the 8th and then cruises to hit double 8 for a 12 darter and goes two ahead once more! Van Gerwen 3-5 Clayton.

Leg 9

Van Gerwen hits 180 number 4 to leave himself on 41 and the world number one takes it out swiftly on double 16 to stay on Clayton’s tail. Van Gerwen 4-5 Clayton.

Leg 10

Van Gerwen nearly reels in the big fish but narrowly misses the bull for it but Clayton gives him another chance after missing three darts at doubles. Van Gerwen misses two at double 18 but Clayton hits double 14 instead of double 9 to bust and the world number one pounces on double 8 to make it level at the break, despite not being at his best! Van Gerwen 5-5 Clayton.

Leg 11

Van Gerwen misses the bull for a 124 finish but Clayton fails to hit double 12 for a 101 finish. However the world number one fails to capitalise after missing two at double 16 and the Welshman eventually tucks in double 12 to go back infront. Van Gerwen 5-6 Clayton.

Leg 12

Clayton hits a timely fourth maximum to leave himself 41 and he takes it out in two on double 16 for a crisp 14 darter! Van Gerwen 5-7 Clayton.

Leg 13

Both players trade maximums but three misses at double prove costly for Van Gerwen and Clayton punishes with an unorthodox 92 finish (20, D16, D20) to put the world number one in deep, deep trouble! Van Gerwen 5-8 Clayton.

Leg 14

Clayton goes within one of a famous victory after taking out 66 on double 8 for another 14 dart leg! Van Gerwen 5-9 Clayton.

Leg 15

Clayton hits maximum number six in his charge to win the match but the Welshman misses bull to win it with a 121 finish and the world number one shows his utter class and brilliance by taking out a match saving 164 finish to stay alive! Van Gerwen 6-9 Clayton.

Leg 16

Van Gerwen misses double 16 for an 68 finish to stay in the tournament and Clayton holds his nerve to seal double 10 with his last dart and score a famous victory! Van Gerwen’s reign as Masters champion is over as is his unbeaten streak in Milton Keynes! A new name is now guaranteed on the trophy! He faces Nathan Aspinall in the quarter finals!

Final score: Van Gerwen 6-10 Clayton.

Rob Cross v Adrian Lewis

The final match of the night was the reigning World Matchplay and European champion Rob Cross taking on Adrian Lewis. Will Cross begin 2020 with a high? Or will Lewis claim his first win at the Masters in three years?

Leg 1

Sluggish start from both players but it’s Cross who draws first blood in this match, taking out 72 on double 6! Cross 1-0 Lewis.

Leg 2

Cross fires in his first maximum to leave himself double 14 and the pressure tells as Lewis misses two at double 8 for a 70 finish. But Cross fails to take advantage and both players miss a chunk load at doubles before Lewis ends it on double 1. Cross 1-1 Lewis.

Leg 3

Lewis misses double 14 for a 121 finish then continues his frailty on the doubles by missing double 14 and two at double 7. Cross misses two more at doubles but eventually picks out double 9 thanks to more misses from Lewis. Cross 2-1 Lewis.

Leg 4

Lewis misses double 8 for a 127 finish but the former two time world champion returns to hit double 2 to hit parity once again! Cross 2-2 Lewis.

Leg 5

Lewis misses the bull for a 132 finish but he has plenty of time on his side and he eventually pins double 8 for a break of throw and to lead at this first break. Cross 2-3 Lewis.

Leg 6

Lewis suffers an unlucky bounceout on the bull when taking out 164, but then misses two at tops for it, allowing Cross to put him under pressure thanks to a second 180 to leave himself double 14. However Lewis recovers to hit double 10 to go two legs infront! Cross 2-4 Lewis.

Leg 7

Cross finally stops the rot in the seventh, picking out double 18 to go one behind of Lewis. Cross 3-4 Lewis.

Leg 8

Lewis hits his first maximum of the game but then the double troubles once again show as he misses the bull then eights and fours. Cross then fails to hit double 16 then three at double 8 and Lewis maintains his two leg cushion thanks to double 2. Cross 3-5 Lewis.

Leg 9

Cross tucks home a 90 finish on double 18 for a 14 dart kill to stay in touch! Cross 4-5 Lewis.

Leg 10

Lewis puts in some brilliant scoring to leave himself 24 after 12 darts and the two time world champion eventually hits double 6 with his final dart to keep his two leg lead at the break. Cross 4-6 Lewis.

Leg 11

Lewis is first to the double in the 11th but despite missing one at double 12 and two at double 6, he eventually plants double 3 for a three leg gap over the 2018 world champion. Cross 4-7 Lewis.

Leg 12

Lewis continues the fine scoring form, leaving 60 after 12, which he duly converts 60 on tops to put himself in firm control! Cross 4-8 Lewis.

Leg 13

Cross keeps himself alive in this contest by picking out double 12. Cross 5-8 Lewis.

Leg 14

Lewis fires in his second maximum and leaves 51 after 9 darts. He misses two at double 16, but returns to pin double 8 for a superb 13 darter and go within a leg of victory! Cross 5-9 Lewis.

Leg 15

Lewis seals the match in style, hitting two 180s before taking out 75 on double 12 for a stunning 11 darter and puts himself through to the quarter finals where he faces Michael Smith.

Final score: Cross 5-10 Lewis.

Well that’s the first day done but here is the lineup for tonight as the 4 first round matches from the bottom half of the draw take to the stage.

Daryl Gurney v Dave Chisnall

Gary Anderson v Ian White

Peter Wright v Joe Cullen

Gerwyn Price v Simon Whitlock

ALL GAMES BEST OF 19 LEGS (FIRST TO 10).