- WSL / Damien Poullenot
- WSL / Damien Poullenot
Highlights: Man-on-man Battles Decide Finalists in Martinique
Only a lucky few make finals day at the Martinique Surf Pro as competition moves into the tense man-on-man matchups.

The Martinique Surf Pro continued today and unfortunately conditions remained difficult, with small windswell breaking in multiple sections at Basse-Pointe. But with only a couple days left in the event's waiting period, competition resumed and ran through the men's Round Five as well as the women's Round Three and Quarterfinals.

The women were first to move into the man-on-man format with their quarterfinals ran in the tricky Basse-Pointe surf.

Isabella Nichols who locked in an insane battle of big scores in her Round Three matchup with Pauline Ado, managed to escape a tricky slow heat with Teresa Bonvalot in the quarters and advanced into the final four for a shot at the event title.

Isabella Nichols (AUS) during Quarterfinals of Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Isabella will chase a second QS victory on finals day in Martinique. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

She's already won a QS on the Gold Coast earlier this year and her surfing is perfectly suited to the long rights of Basse-Pointe. She'll match up with another strong regular surfer, long-time CT competitor Claire Bevilacqua in the semis.

"It's really hard to adapt cause some heats will have a lot of waves and others none at all," she said. "I was quite lucky nothing else came through in that last heat and Teresa came up just short on her last wave. I love righthand points they're just my favorite kind of wave, so I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings."

Barbados' surfer Chelsea Tuach scrapped through a painfully slow third quarterfinal against Australian up-and-comer Holly Wawn for her spot in the semis. The lone Caribbean surfer remaining in the event, men and women included, enjoyed the strong support from everyone on site who consider her part of the family.

Chelsea Tuach (BRB) during Quarterfinals of Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Chelsea will wear the hopes of the Caribbean crowds in the finals Saturday. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"I've really enjoyed being here in Martinique and I do feel a bit more confidence surfing here in the Caribbean," she said. "I also had good scores in my first heat and have been carrying that confidence into the following rounds. Holly is a very powerful surfer and I wanted to match her with explosiveness and just bringing my own strengths."

Philippa Anderson took out the final spot for the semis, finding one of the very few excellent scores of the afternoon for her dynamic surfing of the long rights.

Philippa Anderson (AUS) during Quarterfinals of Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Philippa posted some of the event's biggest scores and will be lethal when the event resumes. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

In the men's field, the trend continued with Miguel Pupo and Nat Young taking out the opening heat to make the quarterfinals. The two former Championship Tour competitors managed their heat perfectly and exchanged good scores while their opponents could barely find any in the tricky lineup.

Nat Young (USA) during Round Five of the Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Nat continued to score big on his backhand. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"There were a lot of sets breaking wide and not offering much, so we struggled a bit to find good waves," Miguel said. "Jorgann (Couzinet) and Imaikalani (Devault) didn't really have anything so I just tried to surf smart and put a little something on the board to make their requirement higher. These guys are trying to qualify so they're great surfers and I just tried to apply a little pressure early on to make their job just a bit harder."

Turns out being a former CT athlete wasn't the only criteria to make heats today. Jadson Andre and Mihimana Braye taking out the next heat confirmed that with your right foot forward, you had a better chance to advance as well.

Mihimana Braye (PYF) during Round Five of the Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Right foot forward, nose pointing to the sky, Mihimana's recipe got him into the quarters. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"I got a bit lucky that Tristan (Guilbaud), one of the best surfers in this event for me, missed the best wave of the heat with priority," Jadson said. "I was just under him and got a near excellent score on it. A new contest starts now, getting to the man-on-man rounds means a completely different strategy, so it's on."

Leonardo Fioravanti took one more win for Team CT and Miguel Tudela one for Team Goofy.

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) during Round Five of the Martinique Surf Pro 2018 Leonardo is probably the strongest regular foot still in the event. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

Event officials have invited surfers to a final call at 9:30 a.m Saturday to launch the event finals and potentially crown its 2018 champions around 3 p.m.

Tune in from March 17-24, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!

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