COOLUM'S Julian Wilson was just three wins away from a maiden ASP World Tour win.
Wilson yesterday won through to the quarter-finals of the Fiji Pro where he was slated to come up against 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
The 23-year-old looked strong in his round five heat at Cloudbreak in which he defeated northern NSW's Owen Wright 14.83 to 12.00.
Wilson's scores of 7.00 and 7.83 mid-heat were enough to see him secure a strong victory.
"It feels good to get one back on Owen," he said. "I knew it'd be a tough draw with Owen on his forehand out here and I've had some good heats with him and I'm happy to get that one. I started the heat with some turns and a little head dip.
"It's pretty clean out there on the faces and I'm just trying to adapt to the conditions."
If Wilson is successful in his quarter he will be the second Sunshine Coast competitor to beat Slater in the space of a week after wildcard Mitch Coleborn upset the American in round one.
A semi-final berth would also mark Wilson's best result of the 2012 World Tour with his previous best being a quarter-final appearance at the Rio Pro last month.
The Gold Coast's Mick Fanning and exciting young Brazilian Gabriel Medina have already advanced to the semi-finals.
Fanning defeated Hawaiian John John Florence 16.60 to 9.10 in the quarters while Medina was too good for Australian Taj Burrow 13.60 to 10.46.
"It's been a good day out here for me," Fanning said.
"You know, Damien (Hobgood) and John John have to be two of the heaviest favourites out here and to get past both of them is a huge confidence boost going into the final rounds."
In the other semi-final Brazil's Adriano De Souza will meet the USA's CJ Hobgood.