Stephanie Gilmore has lost further ground on rankings leader Carissa Moore after failing to reach the quarter-finals at the World Surf League event at Rottnest Island.
Seven-time world champion Gilmore was upset by Victorian Nikki van Dijk in a round of 16 heat on Thursday in Western Australia, ending the Australian swing of her world title campaign on a disappointing note.
Van Dijk reached her first quarter-final of the year by putting together a two-wave score of 13.83, leaving Gilmore needing a 7.34 which she was unable to do in the dying minutes of the heat.
"I've had a really hard time getting out of that round this year so stoked to make that one this morning," van Dijk said.
"I just feel like I'm surfing pretty well at the moment so I kind of just want to enjoy myself and get some scores."
With world No.4 Caroline Marks also exiting on Thursday and world No.2 Tatiana Weston Webb eliminated earlier in the competition, four-time world champion Moore seized the moment to extend her rankings lead.
The Hawaiian was too strong for local wildcard Mia McCarthy in their round of 16 heat, setting up a showdown with Australian tour rookie Isabella Nichols.
Nichols continued her impressive form in 2021 by eliminating WA favourite Bronte Macaulay and will be out to stop Moore in a repeat of the match-up that contested the final at the Newcastle Cup last month.
Van Dijk meanwhile next faces two-time world champion Tyler Wright, who advanced to the last eight at the expense of Sage Erickson.
American Erickson competed despite suffering a nasty cut to her chin that required four stitches after falling off a bicycle on Wednesday.
Sally Fitzgibbons, ranked sixth, defeated Macy Callaghan to advance to a meeting with Marks' conqueror Malia Manuel for a semi-final berth.
The other women's quarter-final match up will be between France's Johanne Defay, who claimed a comfortable win over Australia's Keely Andrew, and Japan's Amuro Tsuzuki.
In the men's draw, Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, Italo Ferreira and Adriano de Souza were among the big names to advance to the round of 16.
Australian wildcard Liam O'Brien produced the upset of the day when he beat Brazil's world No.3 Filipe Toledo (13.66 to 12.50).
O'Brien will be aiming to continue his dream run when he takes on Hawaiian Seth Moniz in the round of 16.
Owen Wright will take on world No.1 Medina in a mouth-watering showdown while Wilson is up against Smith.
Wright's younger brother Mikey takes on American Conner Coffin.
Australian Associated Press