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Morais Leads CT Stars Into Semis at EDP Billabong Pro

"All good things...," Geoffrey Chaucer predicted in a 14th century poem about a love story set during the siege of Troy, "must come to an end." On the eve of the final day of the waiting period of the EDP Billabong Pro Cascais, with just three heats left to surf, it seems that, even in regard to QS 10,000 events, Chaucer was almost certainly right. Today, Guincho had the chance to live up to being a good thing before the event reaches its conclusion, with vastly improved conditions through most of the day giving rise to a series of electric performances.

Griffin Colapinto (USA) placed 2nd in  Quarterfinal Four at EDP BIllabong Pro Cascais 2017 in Cascais, Portugal Griffin Colapinto pushed Hawaii's Ezekiel Lau to the brink, but the Californian became the final QS surfer to fall victim to the CT stars. WSL / WSL/POULLENOT

Meaty lines marched into the deep-water bay that flanks mainland Europe's most westerly outcrop, in the form of genuine organized groundswell. By the time the Quarterfinals were underway in the late afternoon, a bit of breeze ruffled up the lips, but nothing like the chaotic seas witnessed over the past few days.

Kanoa Igarashi (USA)  advanced to Semi-Final after placing  first in Heat 1 of Quarter Finals at EDP BILLABONG PRO CASCAIS 2017 in Cascais, Portugal Kanoa Igarashi is back on pace to double-qualify in 2017, but he's behaving like he's way behind. WSL / WSL/MASUREL

Italo Ferreira must surely feel that the injuries that plagued his 2017 campaign are now well and truly behind him. While he's been back competing since mid-summer -- after missing three events due to an awkward backside air landing at Duranbah in March -- sometimes the mental effect can endure long after the body has healed. If he did harbor any trepidation about launching, none of it was on show today as he repeatedly took to the air to dispatch roommate and compatriot Jadson Andre with the highest heat total of the event (17.20 points), leaving Andre in a deep combo.

Italo Ferreira (BRA)  advanced to Semi Final after placing first in Heat 2 of Quarter Finals at EDP BILLABONG PRO CASCAIS 2017 in Cascais, Portugal Italo Ferreira shot down his buddy Jadson Andre by fighting air power with air power. WSL / WSL/MASUREL

"I'm so glad to make another heat," beamed the Brazilian CT sophomore, currently No. 23 on the Jeep Leaderboard. "Jadson's my really good friend, we're staying together here. I did a big air-reverse, but fell on first one. Then I landed the next one and that felt really good. "

Frederico Morais kept his impressive run alive by out-muscling Willian Cardoso. "Steady Freddy," as he's becoming known, for an uncanny knack of posting an early score and building from there, looked to have full mastery of the troublesome end-section. He knew just how much to commit to the inside's air-drop floater section, while managing to avoid the exploding closeout.

Ezekiel Lau (HAW) placed 1st  in  Quarterfinal Four at EDP BIllabong Pro Cascais 2017 in Cascais, Portugal Ezekiel Lau is making a big push up the QS rankings at a time when he needs it most, as he's fighting to keep his CT status at this point. WSL / WSL/POULLENOT

"I feel like I just know this place so well, I've been surfing Guincho my whole life," said Morais afterward, clearly delighted to have made finals day in front of an adoring Portuguese public. "There's a good connection that I have here, so I hope I can keep it going tomorrow. It's going to be a tough Semifinal, I just want to enjoy myself and give a good show."

With Ferreira matching up against Kanoa Igarashi, who pipped a fired-up Joan Duru, and Morais facing Ezekial Lau -- who overcame Griffin Colapinto in a late see-saw tussle -- an all-CT Semi roster will please Qualifying Series surfers on and around the bubble. No more great strides points-wise will be made on the rankings.

Frederico Morais' Confidence on Home Turf
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Whatever pressure might come from having his face on billboards all over town, Morais dominated his opening heat in Cascais.

Cardoso and Colapinto, meanwhile, have solidified their claims for Top 10 status come year-end (which, in turn, will qualify them for the 2018 CT, if numbers were to remain the same), each earning 5200 points for equal-5th finishes. And while accruing points surely feels infinitely more important than putting in performances at this late stage in the season, Colapinto can take heart from a standout showing in beefed-up conditions today at Guincho. Showing extra energy off the bottom and considerable flair off the top, where others were looking to place stock turns, Colapinto was trying to shine. Should he find himself able to make the cut on to the elite stage, he promises a dazzling skill set to help him take full advantage of it.

UPCOMING EDP BILLABONG PRO CASCAIS SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS:
SF 1: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
SF 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)

EDP BILLABONG PRO CASCAIS QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.84 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 14.20
QF 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.20 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.40
QF 3: Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.73 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.06
QF 4: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.77 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.26

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