Sally Fitzgibbons sights hat-trick of surfing titles

Sally Fitzgibbons is through to the quarter-finals of the US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, California. Picture: ASP

Sally Fitzgibbons is through to the quarter-finals of the US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, California. Picture: ASP

SURFING

South Coast's Sally Fitzgibbons remains on track for a hat-trick of world tour event wins after breezing into the quarter-finals at the US Open of Surfing in California.

The world No 2-ranked Fitzgibbons easily overcame France's Johanne Defay and fellow Australian Dimity Stoyle to win her third-round heat at Huntington Beach.

Fitzgibbons scored a two-wave total of 14.03 out of 20 to prove far too good for Defay (9.10) and Stoyle (3.00).

It means the 23-year-old has a chance of backing up her tour wins in Brazil and Fiji at the venue where she emerged victorious in 2011.

"I went out there wanting to start strong because it can be unpredictable here," Fitzgibbons said.

"You can't rush Huntington, you just have to wait and be patient and hope you get some nice sets."

Joining Fitzgibbons in the quarter-finals is Stephanie Gilmore after the five-time world champion also claimed a win.

The 26-year-old, a US Open winner in 2007, scored a 14.16 out of 20 to beat American Lakey Peterson (12.50) and New Zealand's Paige Hareb (11.10) and book a spot in the last eight.

"I pieced things together well in that heat," Gilmore said.

"I've been coming here since I was 13 and won it once in 2007 ... It's a wild event, there's so much going on and it's very colourful."

Defending world and event champion Carissa Moore is also into the quarter-finals along with fellow American Malia Manuel.

Sunshine Coast rookie Stoyle as well as fellow Australians Tyler Wright and Nikki van Dijk will all face sudden-death fourth-round match-ups when competition resumes in their bid to join Fitzgibbons and Gilmore in the quarters.

AAP

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