Philippa Anderson once again has her eyes set on qualification to the World Surf League at the end of her 2020 campaign.

Merewether’s surfing star Philippa Anderson has kick-started the start of her 2020 campaign in style, finishing in the top-eight at the Corona Open China after a tight battle with Japanese contestant Hinako Kurokawa in the quarterfinals.

After a tough finish during her hometown battle at Port Stephens last season, Anderson has admitted she’s looking for a “fresh start” to the qualifying series. While her first outing didn’t pay major dividends points-wise, she’s started off well.

The 27-year-old found herself locked in a tight opening-round battle with Pauline Ado straight off the bat, but edged her French rival to claim first place. Leticia Canales Bilbao and Carol Henrique were eliminated in the first heat.

Philippa Anderson has started her 2020 QS campaign with a top-eight finish under her belt.

Merewether’s qualifying star, who has never finished lower than 14th in a QS campaign since 2015, then faced a tricky round of 24 against Japan’s Mahina Maeda and fellow Australian hopeful Holly Wawn.

Anderson was able to book her ticket to the final eight, however, off the back of a 5.23 and 4.73 combination. Maeda topped the heat with 10.93 combined, while Wawn was bundled out of China contention with a 6.46.

The final victory the QS veteran—who is set to celebrate her 28th birthday on Tuesday—was able to manage at Riyue Bay was against France’s former Championship Tour regular Pauline Ado in the head-to-head quarterfinals.

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After edging Ado, Anderson fell foul to a rampaging Kurokawa, who had already ousted last year’s women’s champion, Mahina Maeda, in the round of sixteen.

Although the Aussie star wasn’t able to break into the final four at the Chinese event, she still pocketed a hefty 2,500 points to her qualifying series tally, and was awarded $2,500 in prize money for her efforts at Riyue Bay.

Anderson’s next stop in the series is a welcome one—the 27-year-old is heading back to the Carve Pro at Maroubra. Her 2019 efforts in Sydney saw her emerge with the trophy, and she will contest the 2020 event as the defending champion.