Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu reached the women's kata final ©World Karate Federation

Spain’s Sandra Sanchez booked her place in the women’s kata final on the opening day of the Karate 1-Premier League event in Dubai.

The reigning world champion eased through the opening rounds of competition at the Al WASL Club in the United Arab Emirates city.

She is scheduled to renew her rivalry with Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu in the final, with the clash set to be a repeat of the season opening event in Paris.

The duo also clashed in the World Championship final in Madrid last year, where Sanchez emerged as the winner.

Turkey’s Serap Özçelik secured a place in the women’s 50 kilogram kumite final for the third Karate 1-Premier League event in a row.

Özçelik, the World Championship silver medallist, will aim to add to the gold medal she won in Paris.

She reached the final following a 3-0 victory over Germany’s Shara Hubrich.

Özçelik is now set to face the challenge of Ukraine’s Katerina Kryva, who beat Philippines’ Junna Tsukii 1-0 in her semi-final.

France's Steven Dacosta continued his impressive form in Dubai ©World Karate Federation
France's Steven Dacosta continued his impressive form in Dubai ©World Karate Federation

Frenchman Steven Dacosta, the reigning world men's under-68kg kumite gold medallist, also continued his strong run of form.

Dacosta overcame Austria’s Stefan Pokorny 3-0 in their semi-final match.

Kazakhstan’s Didar Amirali is due to face the French karateka in the final, following his semi-final win over defeated Iran’s Hamoon Derafshipour.

There was a shock in the men’s under-60kg kumite competition as Japan’s Yunosuke Minami overcame Italy’s world champion Angelo Crescenzo 3-1 in the semi-finals.

He is now set to face Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Assadilov, who beat Eray Şamdan of Turkey 1-0 in the semi-finals.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow in Dubai.

The three-day event is also acting as a dress rehearsal for the 2020 World Championships, due to be held in Dubai that November after the sport has made its debut on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.