Chasing a third consecutive world surfing tour event win, Sally Fitzgibbons has led a trio of Australians into the US Open semi-finals in California.
The 23-year-old, ranked No.2 in the world going into the event, overcame France’s Johanne Defay at Huntington Beach to move into the semis where she’ll join fellow Aussies Tyler Wright and Stephanie Gilmore.
Fitzgibbons scored a two-wave total of 9.33 out of 20 in a low-scoring quarter-final, with Defay only managing 4.66 in response.
Five-time world champion Gilmore awaits after she overcame young American Lakey Peterson in her quarter-final.
Gilmore’s 7.33 wave in the tricky conditions set her on the way for a two-wave total of 11.70 to pip Peterson (10.03) in a tense match-up.
Wright also reached the last four with a strong win over defending event and world champion Carissa Moore.
The NSW surfer stormed into the semis with a two-wave total of 15.93, easily the day’s highest to set-up a last four clash with American Malia Manuel, who spoiled hopes of an all-Australian last four by beating young Victorian Nikki van Dijk in the other quarter-final.