Sally and Tyler get wiped out at Manly

SURFING

Tyler Wright at the Australian Open at Manly yesterday. She was beaten in the third round. Picture: ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS

Tyler Wright at the Australian Open at Manly yesterday. She was beaten in the third round. Picture: ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS

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."