- WSL / Mariano Antunez

The Semifinalists have been decided after three action-packed days at the World Surf League (WSL) Men's and Women's QS 1000 Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Santiago Muniz (ARG) has made it into the Semifinals and can potentially become the first Argentinian to win the event. He will face Alonso Correa (PER) in Heat 1. On the other side of the draw, Alejo Muniz (BRA), Santiago's older brother, who was born in Mar del Plata, but represents Brazil, will be matched up against his fellow countryman Gabriel André (BRA) in Heat 2.

The Muniz brothers were the standout surfers on Friday, in windswept, but rippable 2-foot waves at Playa Grande. Alejo began the day by winning his Round of 16 heat, which included an excellent 8.25 ride. Santiago followed his lead, advancing to the Quarterfinals where he earned the second-highest heat total of 15.80 (out of a possible 20 points), defeating Noel De La Torre (CHL), guaranteeing a spot in the Semifinals.

"I've been feeling great, this morning I had a good heat and before this one, my brother was surfing incredibly well, so it feels incredible to have so much support around here," said former Championship Tour (CT) athlete, Alejo Muniz. "At the same time, I feel like I'm under control, I've been taking advantage of my time here in Mar del Plata, where I was born, but I haven't had the chance to visit in a while. But regardless, there is a special place in my heart for this town. It's been great just to cruise around, hang out with my family and friends, eat a bunch of good food and at the same time remain focused on my goals for the competition," added Muniz.

Alejo Muniz Alejo Muniz (BRA) can potentially face his brother, Santiago, in the Finals at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

Alejo will now face Gabriel André (BRA) in Heat 2 of the Semifinals. André has been displaying powerful and explosive surfing all week, but had to kick it into extra gear to overcome high-flying Heitor Mueller (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Santiago will go up against veteran QS warrior, Alonso Correa (PER) in Heat 1 of the Semifinals.

"Thankfully, the swell has remained consistent and I was able to catch some great waves in my heat," declared Santiago Muniz, who will be representing Argentina in the 2022 Challenger Series. "I was faced against an opponent that I didn't know too well, so I'm stoked to have made the heat. Honestly, the wave here at Biologia has always provided good opportunities, and this year, there have been good waves every day of the contest. Hopefully I can keep making heats and I feel blessed that God is sending me good waves to surf."

Alonso Correa Semifinalists Alonso Correa (PER) and Gabriel André (BRA) at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

In the Women's division, both Semifinal heats will include a Brazil versus Peru matchup. The defending event winner, Daniella Rosas (PER) will look to hoist the trophy and become a two-time champion, equaling Dominic Barona (ECU) in wins at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande. Rosas, who has also guaranteed a spot on this year's Challenger Series has been a force to be reckoned with, especially in the last few events held in the WSL South America region.

"I had a tough heat against Tainá (Hinckel), who is such a powerful surfer and I really admire her style, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Thankfully I found a good left and it's what gave me that added push to advance into the Semis," said Rosas. "I'm super stoked and motivated for tomorrow. I've been impressed with the wave quality this year, because when I won here in 2019, they were pretty small. The forecast looks like it'll be even better tomorrow, so I'm hoping for another good result," concluded Rosas.

Daniella Rosas Daniella Rosas (PER) hopes to make her second consecutive Final at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

In the other Semifinal, Arena Rodriguez (PER), another young surfer from Peru that has qualified for the 2022 Challenger Series, will be faced against Karol Ribeiro (BRA), whose mix of power and finesse have gotten her through to Finals day.

"I'm glad that I made it into the next round and I feel ready to do my best in the Semifinals tomorrow," said Ribeiro. "Conditions have changed a lot, but there are some really good lefts out there. I spent time before my heat analyzing the waves and I found the ones I was exactly looking for. I feel very confident in my surfing, I've been training hard for this and the waves here are very similar to my home break in Cabo Frio (Rio de Janeiro), so I'm going to give it my best tomorrow."

Karol Ribeiro Karol Ribeiro (BRA) will face Arena Rodriguez (PER) in the Semifinals at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

The Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande is the first event of the WSL South America 2022/23 Regional Series. The event winners will leave Argentina as rankings leaders. A call is set for 8:00 a.m. (GMT-3) beginning with the Women's QS 1000 Semifinals before going into the Men's QS 1000 division. Watch all the action LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com

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