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Wilkinson through to third round in Tahiti

AAP logoAAP 21/08/2016

Australian Matt Wilkinson's world surfing title hopes received a boost as he narrowly survived a do-or-die second-round battle at the Tahiti Pro.

Championship leader Wilkinson was the first in the water on day two and produced two stellar rides to advance out of his high-quality heat against qualifier Hira Teriinatoofa.

In relatively small one-metre waves at the Teahupoo break, Wilkinson's rides of 8.00 and 6.17 were enough to ensure a 0.67-point victory.

"Going in this morning, I knew it was small and slow, but when they come, there are still some beautiful tubes," Wilkinson said.

"I wanted to put some pressure on him. I got that one set that sealed the deal, so I am stoked."

He'll now attempt to advance out of the third round for just second time in seven visits to Teahupoo when he again takes on 2008 Tahiti winner and qualifier Bruno Santos of Brazil, who beat him in round one.

Fellow title contender and defending world champion Adriano de Souza won't advance though, after he was beaten by Brazilian Alex Ribeiro in a low-scoring heat.

Brazil's Felipe Toledo was another big-name casualty on the second day of competition, beaten by compatriot Jason Andrew, as he struggled to a combined score of just 6.63.

The news was good for Australia though, with Julian Wilson and Matt Banting each winning through the sudden-death second round.

Wilson survived a late scare from fellow Australian Ryan Callinan, whose last-ditch ride of 5.33 fell just 0.34 points short of forcing an upset.

Former world champion Joel Parkinson and Josh Kerr also won through in all-Australian heats against youngster Jack Freestone and Stuart Kennedy respectively.

"It is hard going against Jack [Freestone] because I watched him grow up and climb through the ranks," Parkinson said.

"He is someone who I hope to pass the baton to, push and watch him do well."

Davey Cathels was the only other Australian not to advance to the third round, narrowly beaten by Nat Young of the USA.

Adrian Buchan, Adam Melling and Kai Otton had previously qualified for the third round after winning their first-round heats on the opening day.

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