Sofia Mulanovich Bells Beach 2010 ASP Intl

Sofia Mulanovich defied a neck injury to finish runner-up at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, while Sally Fitzgibbons finished equal third.

Mulanovich suffered the injury in round three of the event, which was held in Victoria, Australia, but the 26-year-old battled all the way to the Final, where she was beaten by reigning world champion Stephanie Gilmore.

The result sees Mulanovich move up to equal second in the 2010 Women’s ASP World Championship standings in her quest to regain the title that she won back in 2004. The Peruvian was delighted to have reached the Final under the circumstances.

"I wasn’t at 100% but I'm just stoked to make it to the Finals," Mulanovich said. "That's why I went to get treated before my Final. Hopefully it feels better before the next event."

Fitzgibbons meanwhile defeated the in-form Coco Ho in the battle of the teenagers before falling to eventual winner Gilmore in the Semifinals.

The 19-year-old Australian, who now lies equal fifth in the ASP standings, was not happy at coming off second-best against the world champion, but is looking forward to the opportunity of improving for the next event on the tour.

"Equal third is a good result, but it's still very frustrating to go down to Steph (Gilmore) again," Fitzgibbons said. "I'm just going to take it as a learning experience and look forward to the next one. It's great to have events back-to-back this season; I'm excited for New Zealand."

Reigning three-time ASP Women’s World Champion Gilmore collected her third Bells Beach title in four years.

Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach - Final result 
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.67
2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.00

Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach - Semifinal results
SF 1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.50 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.67
SF 2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.50 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 10.50

Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach - Quarterfinal results
QF 1 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.50 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 3.34
QF 2 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.34 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 4.56
QF 3 – Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 9.33 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 4.83
QF 4 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 9.93 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 7.67

ASP Women's World Championship standings (after Bells Beach)
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 2400 points
2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 1524 points
2 – Melanie Bartels (HAW) 1524 points
4 – Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 1308 points
4 – Coco Ho (HAW) 1308 points

The next stop on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour will be the TSB Bank Women's Surf Festival in Taranaki, New Zealand from April 11–16, 2010.

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