Sandra Sanchez and Kiyou Shimizu have set themselves up for a repeat of the women’s kata World Championship final at the World Karate Federation Karate-1 Premier League event in Paris.
On the first day of action at the Pierre de Coubertin Sports Hall, during a Premier League season which will see athletes fight for Tokyo 2020 qualification, Shimizu advanced through the early rounds of the women’s kata and will now have a chance to avenge her 2018 World Championship loss.
Sanchez, meanwhile, now has a chance to extend her winning streak against the former world champion from Japan.
"I am very thrilled to have the chance to compete in this final," the Spaniard said.
"Paris is very special for me since I started my international career here.
"However, I never won this tournament."
Their final, as with every final at the event, is due to go ahead on Sunday (January 27).
Three other reigning world champions made it through to finals, one of whom was Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo advanced into the men’s kumite under-60 kilogram final by winning his three pool bouts by a combined score of 12-5 before beating Russia’s Evgeny Plakhutin in the semi-finals 4-3.
He is now set to face Iran’s Majid Hassan Niaidelaimi, who caused an upset on the other side of the draw, beating Saudi Arabia’s Saud Albasher in his semi-final.
In the women’s kumite under-50kg division another world champion Miho Miyahara made it into her final.
The Japanese karateka advanced with a 6-3 victory over Italy’s Erminia Perfetto, which the WKF described as "outstanding".
In another World Championship final rematch, she is scheduled to face Turkey's Serap Özçelik next, whom she beat in Madrid last year.
Özçelik, a two-time Grand winner, made it through with a win over Germany’s Shara Hubrich.
Lastly, the home crowd were given something to celebrate as Steven Dacosta beat Italy’s Francesco D’Onofrio 6-0 in the semi-finals of the men’s kumite under-67kg division.
He will now face another Italian Luca Maresca.
The 2015 European champion beat Kazakhstan’s DIdar Amirali in his semi-final 3-0.
Day two tomorrow is due to see qualifying action continue, before the finals all go ahead on Sunday.
The event is available to watch on Karate TV here.