TABLE tennis star Kelly Sibley has hailed sealing her fifth national women’s singles title a ‘fantastic’ achievement.
The 26-year-old, from Leamington, held off a determined challenge by fellow Commonwealth Games medallist Tin-Tin Ho to capture the title.
Sibley had to draw on all of her experience and tactical acumen to take the first 14-12 and then added the second 11-3.
Her 16-year-old opponent, from London, bounced back to level the score, but Sibley was not to be denied and took the next two to complete a 4-2 victory.
“It’s obviously fantastic, said Sibley. “I’m really, really pleased.
“I always knew it was going to be a tough final, but all the matches were really tough and I knew I had to keep my focus.
“As the number one seed, I’m the one everyone wants to beat, so I had to focus on my own game and keep my head clear.
“If I had lost that last set and it had gone to 3-3, anything can happen. I had a 6-2 lead and she played some fantastic points to pull it back, but my experience helped and grit and determination got me to that fifth title, which I’m over the moon with.
“I thought I kept fighting really well and kept a cool head and it’s the outcome I wanted.”
Sibley was unable to add the mixed doubles title to her name as she and Commonwealth Games partner Dany Reed were beaten by Ho and Sam Walker, despite leading 5-1 in the second set, having taken the first.
“They’re a good combination and we know we can’t give them cheap points.” Sibley added. “They had nothing to lose at 1-0 and 5-1 down. Fair play to them, they kept fighting and played really well.
“It shows my experience as well that I can put the mixed doubles behind me and focus on the singles. A few years ago, I maybe would have let that affect me.”
Leamington’s Kelly Sibley(s) Photo by Alan Man