KELLY Sibley’s quest for a sixth national women’s singles title ended in disappointment after she was beaten in the final by England team-mate Tin-Tin Ho in front of the live TV cameras.
The Leamington player was the No 1 seed and defending champion at the PG Mutual National Championships in Hatfield.
She went into the event aiming to move to within one title of the all-time record-holder Mary Wright on six and former European champion Jill Parker on seven.
Sibley has five women’s singles titles to her name but the 27-year-old was unable to move up to third in the hall of fame after losing to her international team mate Ho.
Sibley was left with only that title to contest when mixed doubles partner Danny Reed, with whom she won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2014, had to withdraw through injury.
She was also handed a bye in the first round, meaning she went straight into a quarter-final against another England player, seeing off Karina Le Fevre 4-2 (11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7).
Sibley then emphatically dispatched Hannah Hicks 4-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6) in the semis.
But 17-year-old Ho, who had already won two doubles titles, was a tougher opponent in front of the ITV4 cameras, twice coming from a game down to win it 4-2 (5-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6).
Sibley said: “Fair play to her, she played really, really well, but I had my chance at 1-0 and 7-1 up and maybe if I’d gone 2-0 up my confidence would have grown and there would have been a bit of doubt in her mind.
“I felt I was timing the ball really well but she stuck at it, took a few more risks and was very positive and in the end she dominated.
“It’s not an excuse, but I would have like a few more matches. I felt I went in a bit cold against Karina and found myself in a sticky situation. But you have to go with it.
“I’m happy to make a national final, but I couldn’t get over the line.”