Veteran Silvana Lima defeated current World No. 1 Caroline Marks in the day's biggest upset of the Corona Bali Protected. It was a hard-fought battle between the oldest and youngest competitors in the field with the Brazilian's win coming after a long absence due to injury.
"It's such a good feeling. This is my first event back and now I'm in the Quarterfinals," said Lima after her win. "Taking that win gives me so much confidence in myself and my surfing. I'm better than 100%."
Lima suffered a double knee injury surfing in the 2018 Corona J-Bay Open. After surfing through incredible pain at the Surf Ranch Pro she underwent surgery and hasn't surfed a CT event in seven months.
Now 34-years-old, last year's injury was another huge blow for a surfer who has suffered, and overcome, more setbacks than most athletes on Tour. The diminutive natural-footer made her debut on the CT in 2006 and set the world on fire during her first six years on Tour with five Top 5 finishes on the Leaderboard, including her No. 2 rank in 2008 and 2009.
However, a serious injury in 2012 led to Lima battling both fitness and lack of financial support to sustain her career as she bounced between the QS and the CT.
At the end of 2015 she was forced to sell her apartment, car and her bulldog's prized puppies to fund her next QS campaign, which she duly won. After that, she re-established herself back on the CT, claiming her fifth CT win of her career at the Swatch Pro at Trestles in 2017.
That is why last year's injury was such a severe blow. For any athlete without Lima's resilience and will-to-win, it could also have been a career-ending one.
Yet when she took off on a wave under priority against Caroline Marks with 90 seconds to go and needing a 4.43 or higher, there was no hesitation. Nabbing a 5.83 with speed, aggression and flow, her buzzer beater victory showed that she is a serious threat to the 17-year-old Jeep Leader.
"Silvana surfed really well in that heat and definitely got the best waves, so I wish her luck with the rest of the event," Marks remarked after her loss. "The best thing about losing is that you can learn a lot. I really hate losing, but it definitely makes me way more fired up for the next event."
Lima next faces her long time rival Sally Fitzgibbons in the Quarterfinals. Motivation has never been an issue for Lima, but apart from striving for another CT win, she has another driver -- Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
"This win is so good for me and my seed and especially for Olympic qualification," she said. "Representing Brazil at the Olympics is my goal."
With eight Women WSL CT spots allocated for selection to Tokyo 2020, and a restriction of two surfers per country, a great result here in Keramas would go a long way to seeing her locking down a spot for surfing's debut at the Games. The way Lima she surfed Keramas today, a Gold Medal wouldn't be out of the question. Today's win just might be the start of her greatest comeback yet.
Notable and Quotable from Day 3 at Keramas:
-Lakey Peterson was unable to defend her 2018 Corona Bali Protected crown after being defeated by Western Australian Bronte Macaulay. "I had a feeling it was going to get slow with the tide running out," said Macaulay. "It was quite small so you had to be on the right waves. My Dad (former World No. 2 Dave Macaulay) said to be aware of how slow it could be out there and I just tried to capitalize on my opportunities. It is nice just to breakthrough that round."
-Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore seized on the defeats of top ranked surfers Marks and Malia Manuel and are through to the Quarterfinals. "My loss here was a real turning point in my last season," said Gilmore. "I love it here and want to perform well and would love to win the event. The board I'm riding is actually the one I won Bells and J-Bay on last year, so it felt nice to pull it out because it feels insane."