Fanning survives scare to keep fairytale alive

Mick Fanning has survived a fourth round scare to keep his fairytale career swansong alive at Bells Beach.

Fanning survives scare to keep fairytale alive

Fanning survives scare to keep fairytale alive

Fanning's last hurrah at Bells Beach will continue into the quarter-finals as the draw opens up for a potential dream finale.

Fanning has progressed by eliminating dangerous countryman Matt Wilkinson in the fourth round, finishing 0.33 points ahead of American Patrick Gudauskas in the three-man heat on Tuesday.

The three-time world champion will face Owen Wright for a place in the final four of the Rip Curl Pro, with the pair the only Australians remaining in the draw.

Fanning's prospects of ringing the bell for a fifth time before he ends his celebrated his career have been boosted by the surprise third-round elimination of John John Florence.

The reigning world champion was convincingly beaten by fellow Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau, enduring the same third-round fate as world No.1 Julian Wilson and Bells Beach title defender Jordy Smith.

Australian rookie Wade Carmichael, who shocked South African Smith a day earlier, was knocked out in the fourth round as Wright and Tahitian Michel Bourez qualified from the three-man heat.

Locals Joel Parkinson and Adrian Buchan lost in the third round.

Fanning has not won an event since the 2016 J-Bay Open in South Africa having returned a year after being attacked by a shark.

The Aussie has a chance of bowing out of surfing with the number one world ranking after his pet event.

With AAP

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