‘Game of Thrones’ Mountain defends his World’s Strongest Man title

BRADENTON, Florida — The last time we saw The Mountain on “Game of Thrones”, he was hurtling to his death in a giant fireball at the end of a fight with his brother, the Hound, in King’s Landing. Since then, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, the 6-foot-9, 441-pound actor who played the Mountain, has moved on. He’s…
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The Warriors were the favorites to win after falling to the Raptors on Thursday night, but news of Klay Thompson’s ACL injury changed things.

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Canada Clinches Its First NBA Title as Toronto Raptors Defeat the Golden State Warriors

Canadians descended upon Oracle Arena in Oakland on Thursday night, hoping to see the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA title, and the first “big four” (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL) North American pro sports championship for Canada since the Toronto Blue Jays secured their second straight World Series title way back in 1993 (the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that same year; incredibly, no Canadian NHL team has won the Cup since). The Raptors’ supporters arrived from every province, it seemed, in Northern California, many wearing the garish purple jerseys — featuring an oversized red dribbling dinosaur — that the franchise sported in its inaugural years, when Toronto lost lots of basketball games.

When Game 6 was over and Toronto pulled out a 114-110 victory to win a third straight Finals game on the road — and clinch the series — Canadian fans refused to leave Oracle.

This was the last game in Oakland for the Warriors, winners of three of the past five NBA titles, before they move across the bay to San Francisco next season. But the Raptors’ fans had taken over the arena. Delirious, they filled dozens of rows in the aftermath of Toronto’s win, serenading NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, underappreciated All-Star Kyle Lowry, emerging superstar Pascal Siakam — who finished Game 6 with 26 points, on 10-17 shooting — and reserve guard Fred VanVleet, the overlooked, undrafted, none-too-athletic 6-footer who ripped the hearts out of the Warriors faithful with a dozen fourth quarter points. VanFleet outplayed Stephen Curry down the stretch.

Even as the team chugged from champagne bottles in the locker room, leaving them strewn all over the floor, fans lingered outside. “It feels so good to shut this place down,” says Ankura Tayal, 36, a chiropractor from Victoria, British Columbia. “Respectfully.”

Entering these NBA playoffs, Toronto hadn’t earned too much respect from many hoops pundits, despite finishing regular season with the second-best record in the league. Five straight playoff exits will earn you plenty of doubters. Milwaukee, with MVP candidate Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia, and even Boston — a talented team that could never quite rally around Kyrie Irving — were trendier picks to win the Eastern conference. But Toronto? Sure, the Raptors had Leonard, the league’s most unassuming, keep-to-himself superstar. But Toronto didn’t feature any flashy lottery picks. VanFleet, for one, was undrafted out of Wichita State. “It’s not the glam stars,” says Van Fleet. “None of our guys probably, other than Kawhi, are in that big boy fan club or the fan boy club of the NBA.”

Sure, the Raptors benefitted from Golden State’s surreal rash of injuries. Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles after playing just 12 minutes in Game 5, his only appearance of the Finals. Klay Thompson was torching Toronto in Game 6 — he had 30 points in third quarter when Toronto’s Danny Green fouled him on a dunk attempt. Thompson landed awkwardly on his knee, but told his coach, Steve Kerr, that he’d need just a two minute rest. Thompson tore his ACL. Both Durant and Thompson are free agents coming up this summer, but could both miss significant portions of next season recovering from their ailments, muddling the plans of both Golden State and the teams that planned on pursuing Durant. (Thompson will almost certainly re-sign with the Warriors.)

Even though Golden State lost a lot of firepower these finals, the Raptors earned the title. Toronto withstood inspired performances from Golden State veterans like Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green: Iguodala finshed with 22 points on 3-6 shooting from three-point range, while Green recorded a triple double: 11 points, 19 rebounds, 13 assists. Curry had a chance to put Golden State up a point in the final seconds, but his three-pointer under pressure bounced off the rim.

Lowry, for one, came out firing in Game 6, scoring ten points in just over two minutes to become the fastest double-digit scorer in the NBA Finals in at least 43 years: He finished with 26. Toronto’s path to the title started last summer, when the team traded popular All-Star DeMar DeRozan — Lowry’s closest friend on the team — to San Antonio for Leonard, another free agent this summer who had expressed no interest in playing in Toronto. So the Raptors took a calculated risk. Rent Leonard for a year, perhaps, but give themselves a better chance at a championship. Lowry felt betrayed. Leonard reached out to him. “I texted Kyle probably a day later — or the day I got traded and told him let’s go out and do something special,” says Leonard. “I know your best friend left. I know you’re mad. But let’s make this thing work out. And here we are today.”

Raising the championship trophy, Canada’s NBA first.

Sports – TIME

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Rafael Nadal Wins 12th French Open Championship Title

(PARIS) — For a few, fleeting moments Sunday, Rafael Nadal found his French Open supremacy seemingly threatened by Dominic Thiem, a younger, talented opponent challenging him in the final for the second consecutive year.

A poor game from Nadal allowed Thiem to break him and even things at a set apiece. That development brought fans to their feet in Court Philippe Chatrier, roaring and clapping and, above all, wondering: Was this, now, a real contest? Could Thiem push Nadal more? Could he make this surge last? Would Nadal falter?

That the questions arose at all was significant. The answers arrived swiftly. Nadal reasserted himself, as he usually does at Roland Garros, by grabbing 16 of the next 17 points and 12 of the remaining 14 games, pulling away to beat Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 for his record-extending 12th championship at the French Open.

“I gave everything I had,” Thiem said. “It’s amazing: 12 times here. It’s unreal.”

No one in tennis ever has won any major tournament that many times. Then again, no one ever has been as suited for success on any of the sport’s surfaces as this 33-year-old Spaniard is on red clay: Nadal is 93-2 for his career at Roland Garros, winning four in a row from 2005-08, five in a row from 2010-14, and now three in a row.

“I can’t explain my emotions,” said the No. 2-seeded Nadal, who dropped to his back after the final point, getting that rust-colored dirt all over his neon yellow shirt, then wiped away tears during the trophy ceremony.

Looking at the bigger picture, he is now up to 18 Grand Slam trophies, moving within two of Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20.

Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian who was seeded No. 4 and upset No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, was eyeing his first major title in this rematch of the 2018 final in Paris. But again, he couldn’t solve Nadal.

“First thing that I want to say is congrats to Dominic. I feel sorry, because he deserves it here, too,” Nadal said. “He has an unbelievable intensity.”

So, of course, does Nadal. This had been, by his lofty standards, a rough season, from the most lopsided Grand Slam final loss of his career — against Djokovic at the Australian Open — to entering May without a title for the first year since 2004.

He started to right himself by taking the title on clay in Rome last month, then found himself in a familiar position in Paris: playing in the final, and winning it.

This one began on a cloudy afternoon, with the temperature in the low 60s (mid-teens Celsius) and only a slight breeze. In the initial game — interrupted briefly by a baby wailing in the stands, drawing a laugh from other spectators and prompting Nadal to back away from the baseline between serves — three of the five points lasted at least 11 strokes.

And, thereby, a pattern was established: By the end of the 3-hour, 1-minute match, a total of 46 points went 10 strokes or more. Each man claimed half.

Both would station themselves along the baseline and sprint, scramble, slide, stretch to somehow reach just about every ball, not merely putting a racket on it but conjuring a booming reply. It was an impressive display of athleticism, skill and will, with Thiem managing to give just as good as he got, particularly with his ferocious backhand.

From the get-go, it was such a physical grind that Nadal was soaked with sweat and changed neon yellow shirts after seven games and 45 minutes, eliciting catcalls from the stands.

Early on, there were no signs of fatigue for Thiem, even though he was competing for a fourth straight day, because of rain that jumbled the schedule. Nadal, meanwhile, entered Sunday having played just once in the previous four days.

Not only that, but while Nadal dismissed Federer with relative ease in a straight-set semifinal that concluded Friday, Thiem was forced to work overtime, eliminating Djokovic in a five-setter that wrapped up less than 24 hours before the final began.

Thiem showed he can play defense. Showed he can flip to offense in a blink. Showed power off both sides. Showed precision, too, making only three of the match’s first 12 unforced errors.

Indeed, it was Thiem who nosed ahead first, closing a 12-stroke exchange by ripping a forehand to earn the first break point of the final, then converting it with an overhead to cap a 20-stroke point for a 3-2 edge. He turned with a clenched right hand to face his guest box, where all of his supporters were yelling and shaking fists, too, including his girlfriend, French tennis player Kristina Mladenovic, who won the women’s doubles championship earlier in the day.

Nadal immediately responded. He grabbed the next four games with elan, using a drop shot to help break for a 5-3 lead, then a serve-and-volley to help hold for the set.

That must have been demoralizing for Thiem. But at the ensuing changeover, he didn’t whack a ball toward the stands, as Federer memorably did during his semifinal loss. He didn’t spike a racket or kick a ball. He casually sat in his gray sideline seat, bounced his legs and chewed on an energy bar, furtively glancing to his left at Nadal.

Thiem bounced back, if only briefly. Talk about a stunning shift: Nadal won 25 of 26 points on his serve before — with spectators trading between-point chants of nicknames, “Ra-fa!” and “Do-mi!” — he got broken to cede the second set. That was the only set he’d managed to steal from Nadal in four career meetings at Roland Garros.

Maybe this was going to be a long one.

But Thiem, put simply, wilted a bit. He made three unforced errors in the next set’s opening game to get broken at love, creating an opening that Nadal barged through. By now, Nadal was creating magic at the net, and he won the point on 23 of 27 times he went forward. One drop volley was spun so marvelously that it landed on Thiem’s side, then bounced back toward the net. All Thiem could do was watch — and offer an appreciative thumbs-up.

Soon enough, it was over. The King of Clay, as Nadal is known, still reigns.

Sports – TIME

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Photo Coverage: The Original [title of show] Gang Reunites to Benefit Actors Fund!

A-D-D-D-D-F-A were the first notes of the show last night as the Actors Fund brought back the beloved fan favorite and critically acclaimed musical title of show in a reunion concertat The Broadhurst Theatre. This one-night only reunionstarred original cast members Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff and Jeff Bowen along with musical director Larry Pressgrove. All proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund.
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In a time of vacant storefronts, depressing studies about declining rates of reading, and bookstore closings, the return of a bookstore is happy news indeed. The iconic Shakespeare & Co. shuttered its doors at its first location at 81st and Broadway in 1996 — and opened back up on the Upper West Side this fall….
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The Week in Movie News: First ‘Frozen 2’ Trailer; New ‘Terminator’ Title and More

The Week in Movie News: First ‘Frozen 2’ Trailer; New ‘Terminator’ Title and More

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Terminator 6 has a new name: The next installment in the Terminator franchise, a retconning reboot that will bring back Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, has a new working title: Terminator: Dark Fate. Find out everything else we know about the sequel here.

 

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Naomi Osaka Wins Australian Open and Second Grand Slam Title After Beating Petra Kvitová

(MELBOURNE, Australia) — So close to victory, Naomi Osaka suddenly was letting the Australian Open final slip away. Three championship points? Gone. A sizable lead? Soon all gone, too.

She was playing poorly. She yelled at herself. Slammed a ball. Tugged at her visor’s pink brim. Trudged to the locker room between sets with a towel draped over her head.

And then, after returning to the court, Osaka turned it all around just as quickly as she had dropped 23 of 27 points. Refocusing and reasserting herself, Osaka edged Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title.

“I felt like I didn’t want to have any regrets,” Osaka said. “I think if I didn’t regroup after the second set, then I would have looked back on this match and probably cried or something.”

On top of that, Osaka will rise to No. 1 in the rankings.

“Amazing achievement,” two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova said. “Definitely she is a great one. We’ll see what the future will bring.”

Osaka added the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected in a U.S. Open final last September that forever will be remembered for the way runner-up Serena Williams was docked a game after arguing with the chair umpire.

Unlike that day, there was no jeering from the confused crowd. No controversy. No chaos. No sharing the spotlight.

Clearly marking herself as tennis’ bright new star, Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.

Almost didn’t happen.

Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn’t close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way.

That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third.

At that point, Kvitova would say later, she figured it was going to keep going her way.

“In the end,” she said, “it wasn’t.”

After Kvitova double-faulted to offer up a break point at 1-all, Osaka converted it with a cross-court backhand winner. There was still more work to be done, of course, and some additional drama when it began raining at the changeover right before Osaka tried to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set.

This time, Osaka would not falter. She would not let this lead disappear.

“I knew that Petra couldn’t keep it up for that long if Naomi could just manage those emotions,” said Osaka’s coach, Sascha Bajin, “and she did that beautifully.”

Osaka was born in Japan — her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian — and she moved to New York at age 3. Now she’s based in Florida and has dual citizenship. Osaka already was the first player representing Japan — female or male — to win a Grand Slam singles title. Now she also is the first to top the WTA or ATP rankings.

At 21, Osaka is the youngest No. 1 in nearly a decade; Caroline Wozniacki was 20 when she first ascended to that spot in 2010.

And to think, a year ago, Osaka was ranked 72nd.

What a climb. What a quick climb.

Kvitova was playing in her first Grand Slam final since winning Wimbledon in 2014 — and the first since she was stabbed in the hand by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic a little more than two years ago.

Kvitova needed surgery, missed the first 4½ months of the 2017 season, including the Australian Open, and couldn’t be sure she’d ever get back to the top of tennis.

“You’ve been through so much,” Osaka told Kvitova during the trophy ceremony. “I’m really honored to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam.”

On a somewhat cloudy, rather comfortable evening, with only a slight breeze and the temperature around 75 degrees (25 Celsius), both women hit the ball as hard as can be. Exchanges were mostly at the baseline and filled with flat, powerful groundstrokes that barely cleared the net and made retrieving and replying as much about reflexes as anything.

Here’s one measure of how even it was: Each finished with 33 winners.

Points were swift and blunt; of 86 in the first set, only four lasted nine strokes or more. There was plenty of strong serving, clean hitting and good movement.

It was Osaka who was the first to get ahead, tearing through the tiebreaker by grabbing five points in a row — four via winners — to go up 5-1. When Kvitova sailed a backhand wide moments later, ceding a set for the first time all tournament, Osaka pumped her fist and screamed, “Come on!”

How pivotal was that moment? Kvitova had won her last 22 Grand Slam matches after winning the first set. Osaka, meanwhile, entered the day having won 59 matches anywhere after going up by a set.

When Osaka broke to lead 3-2 in the second set, and then got to 5-3, the outcome seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Turned out, that wasn’t the case. Not at all.

All that really matters, of course, is that Osaka righted herself in time to win.

“It didn’t really take that long,” she said. “I didn’t have a choice.”

Sports – TIME

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Marvel decided the title for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ long before ‘Infinity War’ filmed

Avengers: Endgame Spoilers

2018 was in many ways Marvel Studios’ most successful year to date, with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War both dominating the conversation (as well as the box office) for months. That momentum didn’t stop in the early days of 2019 either, as Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was on hand to celebrate in Beverly Hills, California.

But Feige can’t go anywhere without being asked about the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, and that’s exactly what happened on the Red Carpet last night, as MTV News managed to wrangle the Marvel executive for an impromptu interview. He was (as you might expect) tight-lipped, but did offer a few nuggets.

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Marvel decided the title for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ long before ‘Infinity War’ filmed originally appeared on BGR.com on Mon, 7 Jan 2019 at 16:57:40 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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With Two Pivotal Games on the Horizon, Can Liverpool Sustain Its Title Challenge?

With two pivotal games against Arsenal and Manchester City coming up, can Liverpool sustain its title challenge or will Spurs or City overtake it at the top of the table?

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Stephanie Gilmore is the Best Surfer in the World | Claiming Her 7th World Title

WSL PRESS RELEASE

Stephanie Gilmore solidified her fate on Monday at the Beachwaver Maui Pro, winning the World Title in classic 6-8′ conditions. The milestone was a historic one, setting a new bar for the sport and cementing Gilmore as the greatest of her generation.

Now, with 7 World Titles in tow, the Australian is tied with former Championship Tour competitor Layne Beachley for most women’s Titles in history. In addition, not including the Maui Pro, she’s won 29 Championship Tour events – second to only Kelly Slater.

Stephanie Gilmore WSL / ED SLOANE
Stephanie Gilmore
WSL / ED SLOANE

 

The new World Champ won her first Title during her rookie season in 2007. She then went on to win three more consecutive Titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“I don’t know how to feel,” said Gilmore upon hearing the news. “I wasn’t expecting this to happen right now. I can’t even believe it. It’s so cool. I’m dedicating this win to Pierre Agnes (former Quiksilver CEO who passed away at the beginning of the year). Surfing means everything to me. Ever since I was a little girl, surfing has been all I can think about. It’s my first love.”

The sentiment shined through during her first heat of the day in the most epic conditions this event has seen. Gilmore earned an 8.43 for stringing a variety of maneuvers together, leaving both her competitors combo’d in Round 1.

And while World No. 2 Lakey Peterson came to Hawaii still very much in contention, her performance today was shaky at best. She was caught on the inside while paddling out for her first heat and never fully recovered.

For the first time in her career, the Californian was eliminated in Round 2 at Honolua Bay, upset by wildcard Alana Blanchard. The loss took Peterson out of Title contention.

“I just didn’t perform to the best of my ability today,” said Peterson. “But it’s been an incredible year. I have a lot to learn still. And congrats to Stephanie. What a beautiful surfer. There’s no one more deserving. This hurts but I’m not done yet.”

Although she’s had two event wins this season, Peterson has never beaten Gilmore in a head to head heat.

Lakey Peterson WSL / KELLY CESTARI
Lakey Peterson
WSL / KELLY CESTARI

 

Peterson’s coach Mike Parsons, who is also the WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner, was about 45 miles away at the Jaws Challenge that was happening simultaneously.

“It’s crazy that Mike couldn’t be here,” continued Peterson. “But I wouldn’t be where I am without him. The whole team showed up for me and I’ve never been more proud to be a part of women’s surfing.”

Despite the loss, this marks the best result of Peterson’s career and she’ll have more than one reason to celebrate her accomplishment today.

Amidst the World Title excitement, Ventura native Sage Erickson was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Eliminated in Round 2 by Nikki Van Dijk, Erickson failed to requalify and will not be surfing on the Championship Tour next season. She also narrowly missed requalifying through the QS by one heat at the Port Stephens Toyota Pro earlier this month.

With the apparent setback, she remained in high spirits.

“I’m proud of myself,” said Erickson. “I’m proud of the career I’ve established. I’m excited for this next year and to figure out how to establish my surfing more. And to dive into other aspects of my life.”

Both Sally Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore were able to soak up some limelight, coming out with dominant performances during the early Rounds. Fitzgibbons earned the highest score of the day with a 9.67 and also the highest combined heat total with a 17.60.

With the highs and lows of the World Title race, pumping conditions and requalification scenarios in the air, there were a lot of mixed emotions going around the island.

But at the end of the day, and after months of World Title talk weighing heavily on everyone’s mind, Gilmore became the new World Champion. The Australian made history this afternoon and raised a new bar for the sport.

But she can’t fully celebrate yet. Gilmore is set to surf in the Quarterfinals against Johanne Defay once the event resumes.

Stephanie Gilmore’s Championship Tour Career Rankings:
2018: 1st
2017: 2nd
2016: 6th
2015: 12th
2014: 1st
2013: 5th
2012: 1st
2011: 3rd
2010: 1st
2009: 1st
2008: 1st
2007: 1st

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FanDuel pays out bets on Alabama title win ahead of game

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Roll in dough, Tide! FanDuel sportsbook is paying out bets from people who picked Alabama to win the college football national championship — over a month before the game will be played. The company announced Friday night it is treating the top-ranked Crimson Tide as the winners already, and paid out…
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The 2018 Race for the World Title is ON

A WSL FILM

Progress drives surfing. Always has, always will. It’s the creative force that takes our sport to new places and new heights, that leads to new rivalries, that mints new icons.

Progress is what Shaun Tomson and Bugs, Occy and Tom Curren, Kelly and Andy and Mick all delivered. And now it’s coming from a new place: Brasil.

After Brasilian talent dominated the 2018 tour, Medina and Toledo square off against Julian Wilson at the Billabong Pipe Masters for the Title, and the right to lead surfing Forward.

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While Training to Defend His Heavyweight Title, Daniel Cormier Moonlights as a High School Coach

Ahead of UFC 230, Daniel Cormier discusses how he balances life as a world-famous fighter and a high school wrestling coach. 

 

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Red Sox Beat Dodgers 5-1 to Win the World Series Title

(LOS ANGELES) — The Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series championship in 15 years, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 Sunday night behind David Price’s pitching and Steve Pearce’s power.

Alex Cora became the first manager from Puerto Rico to guide a team to the title. He’s just the fifth rookie skipper to do it overall.

After posting a team-record 108 wins during the regular season and romping through the AL playoffs, the Red Sox finished off a one-sided Series

Price threw three-hit ball into the eighth inning. Pearce hit two home runs, a night after his homer and three-run double spurred a late rally.

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez also connected as the Red Sox hit three homers off Clayton Kershaw.

Los Angeles lost Game 7 of the World Series last year to Houston, also at Dodger Stadium by the same 5-1 score.

Sports – TIME

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Trump embraces ‘nationalist’ title at Texas rally

What a difference two years makes. President Donald Trump will call on his supporters at a rally Monday night in Houston to turn out for his onetime nemesis, Sen. Ted Cruz — instead of whipping that same base of support into a frenzy against “Lyin’ Ted.”


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World Title Contenders Stephanie Gilmore and Lakey Peterson Eliminated from Roxy Pro France

WSL PRESS RELEASE

PLAGE DES CULS NUS – Hossegor, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Thursday, October 11, 2018) – The Roxy Pro and Quiksilver Pro France, Stop No. 9 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), witnessed a day full of upsets and drama during women’s Round 3 and men’s Round 3.

World No. 1 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and World No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA) were both eliminated in Equal 9th place today, which will now push the World Title race to the Maui Beachwaver Pro, the last stop on the women’s CT.

Gilmore was dispatched by California’s Courtney Conlogue (USA), who will now advance into the Quarters alongside Malia Manuel (HAW). Gilmore’s third-place finish behind Conlogue and Manuel in Round 3 Heat 2 terminated all hopes of a seventh World Title coronation in France.

“In these conditions, I feel like it’s good to work with the currents and play it to your favor,” Conlogue said. “It gives you an option to see the wave happening, cause trying to come in when you’re too far out is a lot trickier with the rips. I knew Steph had a lot on the line but I have my own battle with myself so I was just focusing on my process to execute my plan.”

Gilmore scored the heat’s best wave, an excellent 8.27 (out of a possible 10), in the last few minutes with a long ride and a combination of great backhand gauges, but couldn’t get back in the lineup fast enough to get another ride. Despite the loss, Gilmore’s seventh World Title is still within close striking distance.

“I think at the beginning I just missed a couple of opportunities when I had priority,” Gilmore said. “Then I was starting to stress and just kept making mistakes. I got that one in the end and it was a good score but the problem was my other scores. It was just tough to swallow. It’s the worst feeling ever when you train so hard. Lakey (Peterson) and I both had a shocker ”

Hawaii’s Coco Ho took good notice of the previous heat drama and added her own touch by eliminating the current World No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA). Ho went to town on the long lefts for a healthy 13.34 total (out of a possible 20), while goofyfoot Bronte Macaulay (AUS) was the first surfer to shine on her forehand, finding her own gems to advance into the Quarters for the third time this season.

“At the beginning of the year I figured this round would be pretty doable, but it’s gotten me until this back half,” Ho said. “I messed up and Lakey (Peterson) got that 6 under my priority, but then I got my 7 under theirs and my last 6 under Lakey’s, so it was about who was in the sweet spot. If I could sit on this left for the rest of the event it could maybe be a Keanu story. It’s really fun, but we’ll see what the forecast is like for tomorrow, everything could change again.”

Following Gilmore’s early exit, Peterson had an opportunity to make up ground in the World Title race but couldn’t quite match her opponents’ form in Round 3. This 9th place exit in France is a second throwaway in the Californian’s season and will seriously complicate things for her in the last remaining event in Hawaii.

“That was definitely a chance for me to get into a really good position heading into Hawaii and I kind of felt like the chips would fall into place right now,” Peterson said. “Honestly I’m just disappointed in my surfing, I haven’t been able to surf a lot these last few days I’ve been a little bit sick and I think I let a couple things get in my head. It’s cool that I’m still in the race and that it’s going to Hawaii. I’m going to go home and rest up, it’s been a little hectic recently and I need a little breather.”

The World Title scenarios are as follows:

– Gilmore will win the World Title with a 3rd or better at the Beachwaver Maui Pro.
– If Gilmore finishes 5th or worse, Peterson must win the event to force a surf-off* for the World Title.

*In the event of a tie for any World Title at the end of the Surfing Season, the tied Surfer will have a “surf-off” during the final Event, which will have the format determined by the Commissioner’s Office.

Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) put on a clinic right away, facing French representatives from Reunion Island and Tahiti, Johanne Defay (FRA) and Vahine Fierro (PYF).

Moore radiated confidence as she attacked the clean walls on her backhand, mixing carves and snaps from the outside to the shorey, even adding a little fun with a backside 360. The Hawaiian built an impressive 16.04 scoreboard, the highest of the entire event so far. Defay placed second and advanced into the Quarters while Roxy wildcard Fierro placed equal 9th.

“The conditions were fun this morning down the beach where the men were surfing yesterday,” Moore said. “The past couple of years, I just loved the atmosphere here, I love the food and the people. I love the ever-changing conditions, I think it’s a really good challenge and I think it takes the pressure off of overthinking things. I just feel really present when I’m at this event.”

In the last heat of women’s Round 3, World No. 3 Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) capitalized on the frontrunners’ early exits and made sure to advance into the Quarters after back-to-back, disappointing 9th place results at the Vans US Open and the Surf Ranch Pro.

“At the beginning of my heat, my coach and I had a strategy and it went completely opposite,” Weston-Webb said. “So I just tried to reboot and reset. You always have to be ready to fight and adjust no matter where you are in the heat. Watching these last few days, especially the men, it’s been a lot of tiny turnarounds at the very end so for me it was about paying attention to how to control a heat. This round is definitely more intense so everyone stepped up their game.”

Replacement wildcard Macy Callaghan (AUS) managed to squeeze into the second advancing position and eliminated perennial threat Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) by 0.13 to make her first Quarterfinal appearance this season.

The Quiksilver Pro France remaining five heats of Round 3 followed as the tide dropped and before a strong south wind came to mess up the lineup in the afternoon.

Rookie Michael Rodrigues (BRA) took the debate to the air right away, scoring his best rides on two similar full forehand rotations as the peak shifted down the beach to short and punchy rights now. The Brasilian escaped a tense battle with Ezekiel Lau (HAW) and advanced out of Round 3 for only the third time this season.

“I love being here on the WSL tour with the best surfers in the world on the best waves,” Rodrigues said. “Right now I feel exactly like I want to feel. I’m confident to go into the next heat. I think it was the right call to stop yesterday with the wind that came up and we have much better conditions this morning.”

Mikey Wright (AUS) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) defeated Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Griffin Colapinto (USA), respectively, on their way to Round 4, but the real drama came in the last seconds of an all-Californian matchup between Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA). Andino was dominating the heat, sitting on a good 13.10 heat total, while Gudauskas needed a high 8 to turn the heat. Beach announcers counted down the end of the heat as Gudauskas started on a wave for a last-ditch effort. Andino, with priority, decided to start on the same wave, but did so after the buzzer, receiving an interference and losing the heat.

“I just had a terrible heat, probably one of the worst in a long time,” Gudauskas said. “At the end I needed a big score and I tried to get some distance from Kolohe to maybe try an air or something. I stood up on that wave and he stood up apparently after the horn. It’s a terrible way to win a heat and I wasn’t trying to do that but I’ve had a lot of terrible calls against me this year so I’ll take it where I can get it.”

In the last heat of the day, World No. 3 Julian Wilson (AUS) defeated the last remaining Frenchman in this event, local surfer Joan Duru (FRA).

Surfline, forecast partner of the WSL, is calling for:

The surf is eases on Thursday with variable wind, but southerly flow through around the first half of the day. New, mid period WNW swell fills on Friday as southerly wind continues. Larger W to WNW swell is likely over the weekend as southerly flow on Saturday likely shifts onshore westerly on Sunday.   

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL’s Facebook page. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

Local fans will be able to follow the event LIVE on a big screen on the Central square in Hossegor and enjoy movie screenings and music acts in various places during the event’s waiting period.

Roxy Pro France Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.04, Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.54, Vahine Fierro (PYF) 9.40
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.60, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.60, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.54
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) 13.34, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 13.03, Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.37
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.34, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 13.30, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.17

Roxy Pro France Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
QF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
QF 3: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)
QF 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

Quiksilver Pro France Remaining Round 3 (H8-12) Results:
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.53 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.16
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.53 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.90
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.06 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.77
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.70 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.33
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.53 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.36

Quiksilver Pro France Round 4 Matchups:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Julian Wilson (AUS)

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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