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Beachley & Andersen Eliminated In Day Of Upsets

Surfing's 2002 ROXY Pro Tour


Snapper Rocks, QLD, Australia (Saturday, March 23rd) The Roxy Pro kicked off with a bang today, running all the way from the opening round through to the selection of four remaining semifinalists. Four-time world champions Layne Beachley (Aus) and Lisa Andersen (USA) topped the list of upsets, however, in a day of many surprises.

Hollow 3-4 ft (1.3m) waves greeted the first women's World Championship Tour (WCT) of 2002, with jet ski's helping competitors overcome the strong current by dropping them back into the lineup after long rides.

Beachley, the reigning world champion, commenced her campaign this morning in sensational form to top score and push Roxy Pro Trials winner Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) into the 'losers' second round. Revenge was sweet for the Peruvian, though, who advanced into the third, and there made the 29-year-old accept defeat after securing the highest single wave score of the day with a near-perfect 9.5 tube.

"Sofia just had the rhythm," reasoned Beachley, after congratulating her opponent. "She surfed amazingly well and made the most of every wave. She out surfed me, and I'm really proud of her. She did great to fight through the losers round and come back and beat me, when I'd beaten her in the first. I never gave up, but couldn't get in the rhythm she had."

Mulanovich, 18, sent shockwaves through the beach atmosphere by eliminating Beachley. Against fellow South American and 2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) winner Jacqueline Silva (Brz) the following round, however, the pendulum swung. In what proved the match of the day, they went wave for wave, but Silva managed to select better rides and collect the highest tally of the entire event, for 24.35-points.

"She smashed me then," said Mulanovich afterward. "I think I picked the wrong waves, but I'm stoked just to be here. It's a great experience, for sure."

Silva, the current world #11, displayed great surfing to win her three bouts. First it was Andersen in their first heat together, and then 1993 world champion Pauline Menczer (Aus) in the second. Against giant killer Mulanovich she turned up the pressure, leaving the youngster requiring a 9.46.

"That was a good heat and I feel good," said Silva. "Sofia surfed perfect last heat against Layne, but I caught good waves in that one. I'm really happy to make it, and will rest now for tomorrow's semifinal, as I hope to make the final."

Andersen (USA), who was granted a full-time wildcard this year after recently giving birth to her second child, had all eyes focused on her after Beachley was eliminated. The 33-year-old accounted for Neridah Falconer (Aus) to move a round further, but despite smooth surfing against world #13 Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) in their quarterfinal, she failed to progress.

"Can we do that again," joked Andersen after the defeat. "I'm so bummed. I couldn't hear anything, so I was just surfing and trying to get good waves. I think I missed two or three really good ones.

"Yeah, I did good, I guess," she conceded, of her equal fifth placing. "I kind of need to step it up a couple of notches. Just surfing here... I learned a lot."

MacKenzie, 27, put her dangerous backhand attack to good use in the quarterfinal. She racked up countless re-entries on the long right-handers, and snuck past the Floridian to already secure a great result finish in the Roxy Pro.

"I thought I'd lost," admitted MacKenzie, as she existed the water. "I don't know what I think, but I'm pretty excited (laughs). My dad came up for this event to watch, so he must of brought me some luck."

Newcomer Chelsea Georgeson also caused a major upset by eliminating world #4 Rochelle Ballard (Haw), before ending the run of fellow Australian rookie Samantha Cornish in their quarterfinal clash. The 18-year-old dominated with her polished backhand repertoire, surfing like a seasoned veteran.

"I'm stoked," began Georgeson. "I wanted to do really well in this contest and it's all been falling into place. I was a little bit nervous at the start of the heat, but I guess that's natural, and sometimes it can be good.

"It's a shame," she agreed, of facing a fellow rookie en-route to making the semifinals. "I was kind of hoping we'd knock a few off together and meet up in the finals, but that's the luck of the draw."

Cornish, 21, defeated fellow Australian Serena Brooke in round three today, and while her forehand carves kept her in contention against Georgeson, she ultimately required another 9.01-points.

Defending Roxy Pro champion and current world #2 Melanie Redman-Carr was another upset, eliminated by fellow Australian replacement surfer Kylie Webb in round three. The 26-year-old, who was recently married, surfed a great first heat, but in the third was unable to repeat the outcome.

"My first heat went well, so I was kind of waiting for those waves," explained Redman-Carr. "I'm disappointed in myself, mainly. I did miss one really good wave that could have made a difference, but it was a terrible heat for me."

Upcoming semifinal clashes tomorrow include Georgeson vs. Silva, while MacKenzie with take on fellow Australian and world #12 Kate Skarratt, who accounted for Webb in their quarterfinal decider.

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