Trstenjak and Agbegnenou as always the favorites, but watch the roadblocks U63kg
There are two very obvious top contenders in the category U63kg in Budapest and both have won a World title before: Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia and Clarisse Agbegnenou of France. Of the two, Trstenjak has the slight edge. She is the defending Olympic, World, and European Champion and she has won the last four encounters with Agbegnenou. But this time it cannot be the final.
Israel's 2013 World Champion Yarden Gerbi is not competing. She hasn't competed since Rio 2016. Neither did the injured Mariana Silva, the ‘suspended’ Juul Franssen, or one of the talented Japanese. Nonetheless, this category is as always interesting.
Kathrin Unterwurzacher of Austria is a steady campaigner who has been busy competing since the 2016 Rio Olympics. Notably, she won gold in the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam. The last time she fought Trstenjak, in 2016, she lost. But who knows what will happen in Budapest?
Germany’s Martyna Trajdos is always limitless when it comes to ambitions. Her last big title was in 2015 at the European Games, but the Grand Slam title in Ekaterinburg was a good mental milestone in May.
French Margaux Pinot is close to the top and might reach the quarter finals where Clarisse Agbegnenou is her most likely opponent. Alice Schlesinger (GBR) is accompanied by British Amy Livesey in the seeded players. Katharina Haecker (AUS) completes the seeded athletes. However from the non-seeded magicians we might expect some fireworks of good old Ketleyn Quadros (BRA), who is in good shape this year. Or what about Junxia Yang of China?
Quarter finals could be:
Tina Trstenjak vs Amy Livesey
Clarisse Agbegnenou vs Margaux Pinot
Kathrin Unterwurzacher vs Katharina Haecker
Martyna Trajdos vs Alice Schlesinger
Previous World Champions
1999 Keiko Maeda (JPN)
2001 Gella Vandecaveye (BEL)
2003 Daniela Krukower (ARG)
2005 Lucie Decosse (FRA)
2007 Driulis Gonzalez (CUB)
2009 Yoshie Ueno (JPN)
2010 Yoshie Ueno (JPN)
2011 Gévrise Emane (FRA)
2013 Yarden Gerbi (ISR)
2014 Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA)
2015 Tina Trstenjak (SLO)
The Game Changers
Austrian Magdalena Krssakova won a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Hohhot in 2017 but is in good shape to shake up the common order.
Italian Edwige Gwend is always close to the top. She won a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Hohhot in 2017.
Mungunchimeg Baldorj of Mongolia won various World Cup-level medals and she won the Grand Prix Ulaanbaatar in 2016. This year's runner-up at the Asian Championships should give her access to the European top athletes in Budapest.
Check the Stats generator which country dominated this category over history