Six-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore has stayed cool under pressure to claim a tense quarter-final win over Victorian Nikki Van Dijk at the Margaret River Pro.
Australians will fill three of the four semi-final spots, with reigning world champion Tyler Wright and three-time world runner-up Sally Fitzgibbons also progressing on Sunday.
Chasing Layne Beachley’s record of seven world titles, Gilmore shrugged off a careless start against Van Dijk, coming from behind to prevail 12.50 to 11.83.
“It was a little wobbly out there,” Gilmore told FOX Sports.
“I was stressing a bit but they said ‘five minutes to go’ and I thought ‘that’s ages’. It was a close one but I got it in the end.”
Reaching the final four has assured world number one Gilmore of retaining the yellow leader’s jersey for this month’s Rip Curl Pro at Victoria’s Bells Beach.
The 29-year-old’s semi-final opponent will be Fitzgibbons, who knocked out three-time world champion Carissa Moore in a high quality quarter-final.
Fitzgibbons scored a 9.73 for her second wave, tallying 17.60 to Moore’s 15.90.
Taking on Wright in the other semi-final will be American Sage Erickson, who accounted for Courtney Conlogue.
Queenslander Julian Wilson fell well short of repeating last year’s runner-up finish at Margaret River in the men’s competition, losing a close round five battle to Tahiti’s Michel Bourez.
Bourez, who meets reigning world champion John John Florence in the quarter-finals, gained little pleasure from ending Wilson’s contest.
“Julian is like a brother to me, so it’s tough,” Bourez said.
Gold Coast’s Jack Freestone stayed in the title hunt, booking a quarter-final duel with world number one Owen Wright after a convincing victory over American Connor Coffin.
Last year’s Margaret River Pro champion Sebastian Zietz was another big-name casualty in round five, with the Hawaiian’s title defence halted in a narrow loss to Brazil’s Felipe Toledo.
Toledo earned a quarter-final date with Adriano de Souza, while South Africa’s Jordy Smith squares off with American Kolohe Andino after beating Frenchman Jeremy Flores in the final heat of round five.