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Wright, Fitzgibbons into Bali surf round 3

Two-time defending world champion Tyler Wright and fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons have advanced to the third round of the women’s World Surf League event in Bali.

Wright downed countrywoman Bronte Macaulay by 15.34 points to 12.56 in the highest-scoring of the six cut-throat second-round heats held in excellent 1.3-1.8m conditions at the Keramas break.

“When the waves are this perfect and mechanical you really need a good heat strategy to focus on,” Wright said.

“Bronte has such a sharp backhand that I knew if she had a wave that would offer up a couple of sections she’d be going really steep, so I had to be smart with priority.”

Wright will square off against Coco Ho and Tatiana Weston-Webb in the third round.

“Round-three heats are always tricky with three of us in the water because the strategy changes a lot, so I’ll go away now and think about how best to tackle this next heat,” said Wright.

Fitzgibbons edged past France’s Johanne Defay 13.33-12.24 on Wednesday.

Three-time world champ Carissa Moore from Hawaii also did it the hard way, winning her knockout heat against New Zealander Paige Hareb.

But Australian Nikki van Dijk was eliminated by American Sage Erickson.

Earlier on Wednesday, 2018 ratings pacesetter Stephanie Gilmore from Australia took the express route to the third round by dominating her non-elimination opening-round heat.

Gilmore is chasing a record-equalling seventh world crown in 2018.

“I’ve been dreaming of getting barrelled here in a contest for a long time, so it was a really nice way to start the event,” said Gilmore.


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