Sally positive despite missing Roxy Pro semis

SURFING 

Sally Fitzgibbons believes she's surfing well enough to end her world championship duck despite being bounced out of the season-opening event on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Fitzgibbons was defeated by American Lakey Peterson in one-metre swell at Snapper Rocks in the last of the quarter-finals, ending the 23-year-old's hopes of landing the Roxy Pro event for the first time.

The NSW star, runner-up in last year's event on the Gold Coast, could manage only 12.84 out of 20 to be beaten by Peterson by 3.06 points.

It ended an underwhelming event for the three-time world championship runner-up, who was also beaten in a three-person heat on Sunday.

Despite the lacklustre performance, Fitzgibbons said she was happy with her form going into the two remaining events of the Australian swing of the world tour at Margaret River and Bells Beach.

"This week I was gradually building," she said.

"It would have been really nice to get through that heat and surf on the lower tide again ... I can't complain. I know all my warm-ups and free surfs were spot on.

"I have confidence that I am surfing well and move on to that next event."

With an expanded 10-round schedule on this year's women's tour, Fitzgibbons says one less than ideal result won't be as damaging as it has been in previous years.

"I know it's not that win straight off the bat but I can feel it coming," she said.

"With the 10 events it really will open it up a little and you can't be too disheartened.

"Hopefully I can sit back at the end of the year and this can be my worst result. That would be a dream."

Five-time surfing world champion Stephanie Gilmore says ending a 20-month wait for her next event title at her home break would be huge.

Gilmour eased through her quarter-final of the season-opener at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast to set up a Thursday blockbuster semi-final against American world champion Carissa Moore.

It means she's tantalisingly close to ending a tour title drought stretching back to the Roxy Pro in Biarritz, France in July, 2012 and she says that would lay down a clear marker for the long season ahead.

"Last year Tyler (Wright) kicked off the year with a win here and it really set off her entire year," said Gilmore after downing American Courtney Conlogue 15.43 to 13.50 to reach the last four.

"I've definitely had years where I haven't done well here and still gone on to win the world title. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Moore, who couldn't replicate her brilliant 19.50 out of 20 score from Tuesday's third round, will not make Gilmore's path smooth.

AAP

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