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Wright time to win surf title in Portugal

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016

Tyler Wright can become Australia's 20th world surfing champion and the country's new queen of the wave at the Cascais Pro in Portugal, starting Saturday.

Wright has opened up a significant lead at the top of the title race with three events still remaining, meaning a victory will be enough to claim the title if main contender Courtney Conlogue fails to reach the semi-finals.

Wright enters the event as the form-competitor, having taken out last week's event in California where she defeated fellow-Australian and six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore in the final.

However it's meant she had limited preparation time in Portugal, arriving only late in the week after spending a month in the USA in training for her last event win.

She'll also need to turn the tables on the USA's Conlogue, who will enter Portugal with the confidence of knowing she won the final at the same break last year.

In contrast, Wright was knocked out in the fourth round, and has never made the final in three visits to Portugal.

However Wright has never had a year like this one before.

She has already claimed four of the seven events, winning 25 of her 32 heats along the way.

Not that it's her first real shot at the title.

In 2014 she had the opportunity to take Gilmore to a surf-off to determine the title, but she was beaten by Hawaiian Carissa Moore.

She can now begin to avenge for that defeat next week in Portugal, when she meets local Teresa Bonvalot and South African Biana Buitendag in the opening round.

Conlogue has a tougher opposition in Australian Nikki Van Dijk and Chelsea Tuach of Barbados.

Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons face off in the first round with USA's Laker Peterson, while Laura Enever and Keely Andrew are the only other two Australians in the field.

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