Team USA men advance to trios semifinals at 2021 IBF Super World Championships

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -
Even a pair of 7-10 splits couldn't stop the Team USA men from getting redemption Thursday at the 2021 International Bowling Federation Super World Championships, where they advanced to the trios semifinals.

They entered the event as the reigning world champions and now are two wins away from successfully defending that title.

This year's semifinals and final will take place Sunday night, with the women's trios medal round kicking off the excitement at 6 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern).

For each medal round at the 2021 IBF Super World Championships, competition will shift from the Dubai International Bowling Centre to a specially constructed venue at the sprawling site that is home to Expo 2020 Dubai, a multicultural event that includes exhibits from more than 190 countries and will last six months.

To earn the spot in the championship round, the Team USA men - Andrew Anderson, Jakob Butturff, AJ Johnson and Kristopher Prather - survived 10 games of qualifying, a three-game round-robin match-play round and a stressful quarterfinal meeting with Malaysia that saw the defending champions down more than 20 pins at the halfway point.

The deficit was the result of 7-10 splits in the first and fifth frames, but a near-perfect performance the rest of the way resulted in a nine-strike 243-226 win.

In the semifinals, the United States will take on Korea, a 235-211 winner over Qatar in the quarterfinals. The other semifinal will include qualifying leader Sweden against the Czech Republic.

Sweden earned a return to the trios semifinals with a 257-220 win over Bahrain on Thursday, and the Czech Republic defeated Colombia, 236-205.

Anderson teamed with EJ Tackett and Kyle Troup to win the event in 2018, and both Sweden and Korea earned bronze medal. Team USA topped Indonesia in the gold-medal match.

"We got this one to go our way, and it meant a lot to bounce back from last night, where we bowled great in the singles event but got outscored by quite a bit," said Johnson, a team gold medalist at the 2017 IBF World Championships. "We bowled extremely well together, and all four of us had a part in this. We made sure we all were present, supported each other and stayed focused after the bad breaks."

In the three-game match-play round, the Team USA men posted games of 245, 256 and 278 and collected three wins to secure their spot in the quarterfinals.

The Team USA women - Kelly Kulick, Danielle McEwan, Missy Parkin and Jordan Richard - led qualifying with a 236.1 average for the 10 games, and that momentum continued in match play, where they opened with a 300 game and also posted a 3-0 record to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, for the third consecutive day, the pins did not fall for the Team USA women in the quarterfinals, with the result this time being a 217-211 loss to Guatemala.

Women's Trios semifinalists for 2021 Super World ChampionshipsGuatemala will face Korea in one women's semifinal, and Colombia and Singapore will meet in the other.

In the quarterfinals, Korea defeated Sweden (207-171), Colombia downed Norway (227-158) and Singapore defeated Malaysia (254-203).

The Team USA men claimed the trios gold medal at the 2018 World Men's Championships in Hong Kong, and the Team USA women took the title in Las Vegas in both 2017 and 2019.

In the singles quarterfinals Wednesday night, where McEwan was the defending champion, Team USA collectively was outscored by more than 40 pins across five matches, three on the women's side and two for the men.

Earlier in the week in doubles, Anderson and Prather earned the United States its first medal-round appearance for the 2021 event.

The championship round for singles will be Friday night, doubles is scheduled for Saturday, trios will conclude Sunday and both team and mixed team will wrap up Monday. Doubles, trios and both team events will feature variations of the Baker format from start to finish.

Additional medals will be awarded to the most valuable athletes and top-performing federations.

All 31 men's and 20 women's teams bowled 10 games of trios qualifying Thursday, before the respective fields were cut to the top 16 for round-robin match play.

The format called for the leadoff bowler to also bowl the fourth, seventh and 10th frames, while the next team member handled the second, fifth and eighth frames. That left the third, sixth and ninth frames for the final team member.

The advancing teams were divided into four groups, each with four teams, and they all bowled three games of round-robin match play Thursday evening.

Points were awarded for each win in match play, and the top two teams in each group, based on points, advanced to the bracket-style quarterfinals.

Next up for the bowlers at the Super World Championships is 10 games of qualifying for the new mixed team competition. Everyone will bowl 10 qualifying games, before the field is cut to the top 16 teams for round-robin match play.

Once the Super World Championhips competition concludes for the day Friday at the Dubai International Bowling Centre, the venue will belong to the competitors in town for the inaugural IBF Para Bowling World Championships, which gets underway Saturday. Official practice will be held Friday.

The IBF Super World Championships is the first of three events being held in Dubai, concluding Nov. 15, and the Para Bowling World Championships will share the stage through the weekend. The IBF Masters (formerly Senior) World Championships will help wrap up the visit to the United Arab Emirates.

IBF is providing livestream coverage and complete results at StrikeCloud.com.

For more information about IBF, visit bowling.sport.