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News provided by ASP World Tour on 8 May 2006

Current Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Tour ratings leader Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) is through to the quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, but her campaign was nearly derailed by 20-year-old event wildcard Nicola Atherton (AUS) today.

Rounds one through three of the women’s portion of proceedings were run in relatively small but very clean three-foot (one metre) conditions at Teahupoo, with last year’s runner-up Redman-Carr, who won the first two events of the year, among the surfers who survived round two and three elimination.

"That was extremely close and I was the one fighting all the way because I was behind,” Redman-Carr said of her round three heat against Atherton.

"I always knew Nicola was capable of knocking me out so I was considering that heat to be a final and I knew that to do well here I had to get past Nicola. It was more nerve racking than my last final in Fiji."

Less than half a point separated the surfer’s final scores – Redman-Carr’s two-wave total came to 13.90 out of 20.00 while Atherton, who led for the majority of the heat, ended up just shy with 13.50.

Inexperience hindered the young wildcard’s hopes when she made poor use of her priority position.

“In hindsight Nicola made a tactical error,” Redman-Carr continued. “The wave she let go looked quite small but it allowed me to get quite a few turns in and be able to hit the lip – it actually turned out to be my best wave. I was trying to impress the judges by going right onto dry reef because I think they like that some times. It shows commitment."

Had Redman-Carr been eliminated by Atherton, she would have handed six-time world champion Layne Beachley (AUS) the world number one ranking for the first time since 2003.

"I was almost getting ready to paddle up to Nicola and say ’thank you very much’ but then she made that mistake, which simply came from inexperience,” Beachley said.

“It was a good learning experience for her, but it now just means that I have to authentically fight for the title. It would have been nice to leave this event in number one and then have three months off and come back in August and really go for it."

Beachley convincingly ousted Serena Brooke (AUS) from their round three clash and will now take on Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly in the quarterfinals.

Kennelly, otherwise known as the “Queen of Chopes”, for posting victories at Teahupoo an unprecedented three times (in 2000, 2002 and 2003) came close to forfeiting her place in this year’s line-up when she hurt her back after a surfing accident in Fiji last week.

Undergoing the full gambit of tests to ensure she hadn’t broken her back, Kennelly was given the all-clear and was able to overcome Samantha Cornish in heat six.

Junior world champion Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) racked up the highest first-round heat score of 15.17 (out of 20) but it was of little consolation after her loss to 2004 event champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) in round three. Mulanovich, 22, opened up strongly with a series of swooping carves on her backhand to post solid scores early on.

"I was a little bit nervous at first but then I told myself to relax and I got some good scores. Sometimes having to surf in round two as well is really good for me because it makes me really concentrate on what I’m doing,” Mulanovich said. “All the girls are ripping so much now and there are no easy heats so it can get nerve racking at times. You just have to do things right."

Miley-Dyer, 20, answered back with progressive forehand surfing but was unable to catch Mulanovich once the Peruvian slammed the door shut by negotiating the dangerous inside section posting an 8.33 out of a possible 10 with five minutes left to finish with a heat total of 16.33.

It was reigning world champion Chelsea Georgeson (AUS), however, who posted the day’s highest individual wave score of 9.73 and heat total of 16.73 out of a possible 20 when she emerged from the day’s deepest barrel.

Georgeson easily eliminated California’s Julia Christian and will meet Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) who beat Rochelle Ballard (HAW) in heat three, in the quarterfinals.

Another call on competition status will be made at 6am local time.


ROUND THREE: 1st advances to quarterfinals, 2nd finishes equal 9th and earns $USD3000
HEAT 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 16.33 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 13.07
HEAT 2: Heather Clark (ZAF) 12.84 def. Megan Abubo (HAW) 12.84
HEAT 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.50 def. Trudy Todd (AUS) 11.26
HEAT 4: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 13.90 def. Nicola Atherton (AUS) 13.50
HEAT 5: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.83 def. Serena Brooke (AUS) 7.80
HEAT 6: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 10.17 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 9.94
HEAT 7: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.63 def. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 12.13
HEAT 8: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 16.73 def. Julia Christian (USA) 6.67

ROUND TWO: 1st and 2nd advance to round three, 3rd finishes equal 17th and earns $USD2500
HEAT 1: Nicola Atherton (AUS) 14.10; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.90; Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.57
HEAT 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.50; Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.43; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.56

ROUND ONE: 1st and 2nd advance to round three, 3rd surfs round two.
HEAT 1: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 15.17; Trudy Todd (AUS) 8.06; Megan Abubo (HAW) 5.90
HEAT 2: Julia Christian (USA) 12.33; Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.84; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 3.83
HEAT 3: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.00; Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 10.63; Nicola Atherton (AUS) 9.60
HEAT 4: Serena Brooke (AUS) 13.27; Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.24; Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.37
HEAT 5: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 14.00; Keala Kennelly (HAW) 12.90; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 3.40
HEAT 6: Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 13.66; Heather Clark (ZAF) 13.34; Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.66


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