Sally and Tyler get wiped out at Manly

SURFING

The Australian Open lost two of its biggest drawcards yesterday with South Coast surfers Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright both bundled out of the Manly Beach-based tournament without reaching the fifth round.

Defending champion Fitzgibbons, nursing a broken hand, made a surprise exit in round four after producing the third-highest individual heat score of the day in her round-three qualifier.

The 23-year-old produced an impressive 9.37 ride helping her to a score of 17.04 and easy progression to the fourth round.

It was a different story in round four, with the world No 3 struggling in difficult conditions and falling behind Hawaiian world tour rookie Alessa Quizon, Brazilian Silvana Lima and fellow Australian Keely Andrew.

Sitting in fourth place and needing a score of 7.63 with a minute remaining in the heat, Fitzgibbons couldn't find a wave, bowing out with Quizon and Andrew advancing.

"Just to be in the water with some of the best surfers in the world was a huge experience for me," Andrew said.

"I've gained a lot of confidence from that heat and I'm looking forward to the next round.

"My friend Bronte [Macaulay] beat me in the pro junior and I just had to refocus and prepare for this event ... it's working so far."

It was the second high-profile exit of the day after world No 2 Wright failed in the third round.

In her first competition since finishing second on last year's world tour, the Culburra surfer managed scores of 5.33 and 5.17 in her third-round heat.

It wasn't enough with Hawaiian Nage Melamed (13.77) and Peru's Anali Gomez (12.23) progressing.

With Fitzgibbons and Wright both out, Hawaiian world No 1 Carissa Moore will be the hot favourite to take out the title when the quarter-finals begin today.

"It's hard work out there," Moore said.

"At least it's a good warm up, I haven't competed for five months so it's great to get a jersey on and get back into it. You just have to find the treasures and gems out there, which is really good practice."

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