The 2018 Karate World Championships continued with thrills as Turkey's female world champion karateka Serap Özçelik Arapoğlu has advanced to the finals once again, closing in on repeating her success in 2014. Topping an outstanding season, the current Grand Winner and WKF World ranking leader Serap Özçelik qualified for the 50-kilogram Female Kumite final in spectacular fashion. The Turkish karate star had claimed the world crown in 2014 and the third place in 2012. She managed to make it back to the final stages of the competition this after showing strength throughout the competition. The current European champion dominated the pool 10-2 in four bouts and won the semifinal over Russia's Tatiana Rybalchenko 3-1.
"The last World Championships were like a disaster for me, so I am very happy that I reached the final for the second time in my career. It was really hard but I did it again. I will face Miho Miyahara from Japan, and she is very talented and very skilled," said the Turkish star athlete.
One of the top favorites in the category, Japan's Miho Miyahara demonstrated her impressive talents with another success in a remarkable season. Miyahara is currently second on the WKF World rankings and she won the pool with a slim 2-0 margin in four bouts but crushed Austria's Bettina Plank 6-0 in the semifinals. She is the fifth Japanese representative in the finals to date.
Meanwhile, new names in the sport are the big winners on Wednesday with surprising qualifications to the finals. Shocking results continued dominating the competition as the 55-kg Female Kumite category saw two unexpected stars taking the spotlight. Jana Bitsch of Germany will clash against Poland's Dorota Banaszczyk in the surprising final of the category. The German representative, who is placed in seventh in the WKF world ranking dazzled with a solid performance on the tatamis of the WiZink Center sports hall. The 27-year-old Köln-native prevailed in the pool with an impressive count of 13-1 in four bouts and then, the 2014 World Championships bronze medalist defeated Russia's Valeriia Alekhina by an outstanding 4-0, so to reach her first final in the tournament.
Surprises also took over the other side of the draw as newcomer Dorota Banaszczyk shocked rivals to make it to the final. The 21-year-old karateka, who takes the place 28 in WKF World ranking confirmed the prevalence of new generations after registering a tally of 8-2 in five bouts in the pool round and then edging Sara Yamada of Japan by "Hantei" or decision in semifinals. The final of the 60-kg Male Kumite will also have unexpected opponents. Japan's Naoto Sago will clash for gold against Italy's Angelo Crescenzo in an unseen final bout.
Meanwhile, Angelo Crescenzo took use of his fourth place in the WKF World Ranking to achieve the best result of his career. In his first appearance in World Championships, the current continental runner-up of the category prevailed in the pool with an effective 4-0 in four bouts. In the semifinals, Crescenzo upset Morocco's Abdessalam Ameknassi 4-1. It is the second spot in the finals for Italy.
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