HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN — American Victoria Varano survived a tense three-way playoff Thursday to advance to the semifinals singles at the IBF U-21 World Championships.
The Vanderbilt-bound Varano won five of her seven match play games and ended up tied with Slovenia’s Alja Bergauer and Malaysia Alyaa Addini, forcing a one-game playoff to determine which two would advance into Wednesday’s semifinals.
With nerves apparent among the trio, Addini managed a 199 and Varano a 153 to eliminate Vergauer who could muster just 122 pins. Addini and Varano will join Singapore’s Colleen Pee and Puerto Rico’s Zuriani Reyes in the semis.
Varano, in her first international competition, admitted to some early jitters.
“I was nervous at first but once I got comfortable I turned my nerves into momentum for each match,” the Stony Brook, New York, product said afterward. “So far the tournament has been a grind as the lanes have been really tricky but I am making the best shots I can. It is super exciting to represent the United States and I am glad all the hard work I put in is paying off.”
Varano had steady games of 212-191-157-199-204-240 and 214 in making her way to the 5-2 mark and playoff.
Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson was on hand to watch and came away impressed.
“You get into a playoff situation playing for something special and it’s just natural that you press a little,” Williamson said. “Victoria was very impressive. She lost her first match and then played at a very high level. She had to beat (Pee) that had been out-performing the field to get into the playoff and she did. It was encouraging to see such a young bowler, in her first international competition, make the shots that she did.”
Women’s doubles play begins Friday as the event continues through next week.