Sport Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore goes to No.1 with WSL win in Bali
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Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore goes to No.1 with WSL win in Bali

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Champion Stephanie Gilmore beats Sally Fitzgibbons to win the WSL event in Bali and take top spot on the tour rankings. Photo: AAP
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Australian Stephanie Gilmore has dropped a perfect 10 on her way to victory at the World Surf League event in Bali.

The seven-time world champion put an exclamation mark on her performance Keramas on Saturday, scoring a 10.00 with under two minutes remaining in the final against compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons.

That lifted Gilmore to a two-wave total of 16.83 out of 20 to beat Fitzgibbons (7.00) by a whopping 9.83 points.

Victory means Gilmore, who was beaten in the quarterfinals on the Gold Coast and Bells Beach, moves from fifth on the rankings to No.1 heading into next month’s Margaret River Pro.

It’s the 12th time in 18 heats between her and Fitzgibbons that Gilmore has emerged victorious, including four tour event final wins.

Gilmore was already on her way to victory when she took off on her last wave.

A good wave turned into a perfect one when Gilmore emerged from deep in a barrel to the cheers of the fans on the beach, leaving Fitzgibbons with no chance.

Fitzgibbons moves to fifth on the rankings after reaching her first final since the 2017 Margaret River Pro.

The 28-year-old had earlier overcome Hawaii’s Brisa Hennessey in the semi-finals while Gilmore eliminated Victoria’s Nikki Van Dijk.

The men’s final will be between France’s Jeremy Flores and Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi, who ended the run of American legend Kelly Slater in the semi-finals.

Australian pair Wade Carmichael and Adrian Buchan both fell in the quarter-finals earlier on Saturday.

-AAP