Ho woe for Sibley who misses out in two finals

Kelly Sibley in action at the National Championships.
Kelly Sibley in action at the National Championships.
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Kelly Sibley rued missed chances as she lost out on the women’s singles national title to Tin-Tin Ho for the second successive year.

The Leamington athlete was top seed at the PG Mutual National Championships in Nottingham and was in great form all the way to the final, where she faced second seed and defending champion Ho, who beat her last year.

Sibley led and had game points in the first three sets but only managed to win one of them and her 18-year-old opponent showed her class in the last two sets to complete a 4-1 victory (12-10, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-4).

“Fair play to Tin-Tin, I thought she was really sharp,” said Sibley, 28. “She just didn’t miss or make any mistakes and any half-chance she had, she was in and keeping the pressure on me.

“But I’m very disappointed, especially in the first and third sets when I had my leads but wasn’t able to finish it. Instead of it being 2-1 to her, it could have been 3-0 to me and it’s a different game.”

Sibley also reached the final of the women’s doubles alongside Jo Drinkhall, who was making her comeback after having two children since the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The pair are six-time champions but could not make it seven as Ho and Maria Tsaptsinos won the final 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-8).

“We wanted to take the title but we knew it was going to be a massive challenge because they play together all the time. Their flow was better and we couldn’t sneak that one game which might have changed the match.”

In the mixed doubles, Ho was again the nemesis, alongside Sam Walker, as Sibley and Danny Reed were defeated 3-2 (11-5, 11-13, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8) in the semi-finals.