Mick Fanning in Portugal Hugo Silva / Red Bull Photofiles

Current ASP World Tour points leader Mick Fanning successfully advanced through his Round 3 and Quarterfinal heats today at the Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal, qualifying for tomorrow’s Semifinal round, the final day of the event’s waiting period. Fanning handily defeated Fredrick Patacchia in Round 3 and Tim Reyes in the Quarterfinal, while current ASP World No. 2 Joel Parkinson had similar fortune, earning his own berth in the Semifinal round.

Parkinson, who had been having trouble with a nagging ankle injury and placed equal 17th at the last three stops of the Tour, returned to form in Portugal, and he’s certainly not backing off his quest for the title. “I’m just living to keep my dream alive,” Parkinson said. “I don’t focus on the opponent. I still have two heats to go and two heats to win and then the job is done.”

With Parkinson matched up with Bede Durbidge and Fanning with Owen Wright in the Semifinal, it’s possible a heated Final round between the ASP’s current No. 1 and No. 2 could go down, but of course, anything is possible. “Anyone is a danger in these waves,” Parkinson points out. “Mother Nature can send you the wave of the day, so anyone is a challenger.”

That would be pretty fun, wouldn’t it?” said Fanning of the potential match-up, before adding, “We both still have to get there, though.” It remains to be seen how much of a challenge it will be for Mick, as his opponent, Wright, went down hard in his Quarterfinal round, rupturing his eardrum and sustaining a possible neck injury. Wright, a Rip Curl Pro Search wildcard, had defeated Kelly Slater in Round 2 and was enjoying a successful run at the event; his presence in tomorrow’s Semifinal is still uncertain.

Fanning will surely be ready either way, eager to log this third win of the season in his chase for his second ASP World Title. Follow the action at the Rip Curl Pro Search, including the upcoming women’s event featuring Sofia Mulanovich and Sally Fitzgibbons, right here.


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