Kennelly wins second round heat, Ballard falls

PORTUGAL – Current ratings #5 and Kauaian Keala Kennelly survived her second round heat Thursday, defeating Amee Donohoe (Aus) and together eliminating wildcard Patricia Lopes (Port) from the Figueira Pro in Portugal.

Having won the last WCT event in Tahiti four months ago, the Hawaiian is now suffering a back injury, but blocked out the pain to advance into round three.

“I hate surfing in that round,” said a relieved Kennelly afterward. “I’ve been having a lot of problems with my back, and my body’s not doing what my brain is telling it to do. My back’s been in a lot of pain, but I took an anti-inflammable before that heat and it was a lot less painful putting my body in the right position on waves. I’m going to keep seeing a physiotherapist all week, so hopefully we’ll figure it out.”

Current #4 Kate Skarratt (Aus) put a slow start behind her to win against Kaua’i’s Rochelle Ballard and replacement Marie Pierre Abgrall (Fra). The French surfer was leading from the outset, but then wasted too much time hassling both Skarratt and then Ballard, and ultimately finished third and was eliminated. Ballard is still alive with the second place finish.

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