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Fitzgibbons Ignites as Movistar Peru Classic Completes Round 3

| posted on November 07, 2009

LOBITOS, Piura/Peru (Saturday, November 7, 2009) – The Movistar Peru Classic presented by Rip Curl, Event No. 5 of 7 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, completed Rounds 2 and 3 today in two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Lobitos.

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP Women’s World No. 7, was the form surfer of the day, lighting up the sand-bottom lefthanders with some incendiary maneuvers on her backhand. The young natural-footer netted the highest heat total of the event, a 17. 85 out of a possible 20, including the event-high single-wave score of a 9.00 in her trouncing of tour veteran Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 30.

“I guess I have been training hard,” Fitzgibbons said. “I’ve just been doing my usual preparation. It is really nice to have a good heat in Round 3. Round 1 was a little bit wave-starved, but I am really looking forward to the next round and some really good waves here at Lobitos.”

While certainly one of the event favorites after today’s performance, Fitzgibbons will have no easy road ahead of her, facing current ASP Women’s World No. 2, Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, in the Quarterfinals.

“I have had similar heat draws in the last few events,” Fitzgibbons said. “Up against Silvana Lima (BRA) again and that is always a tough match up, but I’ll just hope that the good waves come my way.”

Lima, for her part, survived the tightest heat of the day, winning a count-back Round 3 battle against replacement surfer Megan Abubo (HAW), 31, 12.35 to 12.35.

“I couldn’t believe I won that heat,” Lima said. “I knew I needed the score on the last wave, and I came in thinking I had lost, but then someone on the beach told me I won. It was very hard for our heat. Not many good waves and I’m so happy to get through.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and defending two-time event winner in Peru, led the charge for those in the hunt for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Title today, besting wildcard Anali Gomez (PER), 21, 15.00 to 8.75.

“We were both pretty excited out there at the start of the heat,” Gilmore said. “We could see the opportunity to get barreled so we were on the hunt. Anali (Gomez) caught a great wave in front of me so that made me want to step it up.”

While Gilmore maintains a narrow lead on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour ratings, the young Australian is well aware that there are several competitors nipping at her heels.

“I’m not really thinking about the world title race, Silvana (Lima), Coco (Ho) or any of the other girls,” Gilmore said. “I am just focusing on getting the waves, progressing through each heat and surfing hard at this event. This is my fourth time in Peru so I feel pretty comfortable here. The crowd is just amazing, I am pretty sure they have Sofia (Mulanovich) tattooed on them somewhere!”

Mulanovich, 26, former ASP Women’s World Champion (2004) and current ASP Women’s World No. 4, nearly received a tattoo of her own this afternoon, after suffering a horrific wipeout in the final heat of the day. Despite the injury, the national icon was able to oust Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 23, from their Round 3 match and expects a full recovery by morning.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 7am for a possible 7:30am start and will complete the Movistar Peru Classic presented by Rip Curl by day’s end.

When competition resumes, up first will be Coco Ho (HAW), 18, up against Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22, in Quarterfinal 1.

Highlights from today’s Movistar Peru Classic will be available via www.aspworldtour.com

The Movistar Peru Classic presented by Rip Curl will host the ASP Top 17 from November 3 – 8, 2009.

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

MOVISTAR PERU CLASSIC ROUND 2 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Megan Abubo (HAW) 9.25, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.15, Nadja DeCol (PER) 3.80

Heat 2: Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.55, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 9.80, Anali Gomez (PER) 8.35

MOVISTAR PERU CLASSIC ROUND 3 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.50 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 10.50

Heat 2: Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 11.25 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 6.25

Heat 3: Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.60 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 9.40

Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.00 def. Anali Gomez (PER) 8.75

Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.35 def. Megan Abubo (HAW) 12.35

Heat 6: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.85 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 9.75

Heat 7: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 11.65 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.00

Heat 8: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.50 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 8.50

MOVISTAR PERU CLASSIC QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:

QF 1: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)

QF 2: Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

QF 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

QF 4: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)