|CT’s Rising Stars Reach Quarterfinals
Several rising stars of the CT found themselves with spots in the Quarterfinals after commendable matchups against dangerous competitors today.
The opening heat of the day saw Isabella Nichols (AUS) claim a much-needed win over CT Rookie and current World No. 2 Caitlin Simmers (USA). Nichols was in a good rhythm on the Bells Bowl, continuously finding herself on set waves to post a two-wave total of 13.67 and easily progress into the Quarterfinals. Today marks the first time Nichols has progressed through the Round of 16 in 2023 and her first time in the Quarterfinals at Bells Beach. It couldn’t have come at a better time as she looks to move out of 15th place on the rankings and above the Mid-season Cut line.
“I’m relieved to make it past the Round of 16,” Nichols said. “I love this place and have really hoped for a result here. It’s all about picking the right wave here today. It’s victory at sea conditions, and really hard to find the right ones. I’m just relieved that I put together a heat that I’m happy with as it’s been a while. In Portugal, I decided I wanted to let go and have fun, and I feel like I’m in my zone now, and I’m excited to see how my next two events go.”
Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) overcame a seasoned competitor and past event winner, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), in the Round of 16. Utilizing her powerful technique, Sakura Johnson tied Moore for the highest single-wave score of the day, a 7.33.
Current No. 1, Molly Picklum (AUS), is showing no signs of slowing down as she has secured herself yet another Quarterfinals appearance after winning her Round of 16 matchup with rookie Sophie McCulloch (AUS). She will now have to face Sakura Johnson in the Quarterfinals.
In one of the upsets of the day, Matthew McGillivray (RSA) took down current World No. 2, Joao Chianca (BRA), in the first heat of the men’s Round of 16. This was a significant win for McGillivray, who currently sits right above the Mid-season Cut line.