Jarvis and Sibley secure English double at Nottingham GP

Russell Moore

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It was a double success for the English competitors at the Nottingham Grand Prix as both Tom Jarvis and Kelly Sibley secured singles titles under the watchful eye of national Head Coaches Alan Cooke and Nick Jarvis.

Men’s Singles
Tom Jarvis boosted his chances of breaking into the England senior squad by overcoming experienced internationals in Paul McCreery and Ryan Jenkins en route to the men’s singles title in front of men’s captain Alan Cooke in Nottingham.

Jarvis, seeded third for the tournament, wasn’t troubled in his group as he comfortably progressed into the knockout stages following consecutive straight games victories over Kin Fung Chan, Jon Spinks and Alex Aston. He continued his form into his first knockout game win over Joel Webb (3-0) but found himself in trouble against Grantham College player Damiano Seretti in the last 16.

Seretti led 2-0 before Jarvis found his rhythm and was able to stage a hearty comeback to squeeze through a high-quality five-set encounter 3-2 (8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9).

Joining the youngster in the quarter-finals were Alex Ramsden, Paul McCreery, second seed Ryota Kawai, Joseph Clark, Gavin Maguire, Ismaila Akindaya and top seed Ryan Jenkins.

Jenkins, who had already blown past Joe Killoran (3-0) and Matt Leete (3-0) took his quarter-final tie against Saturday’s star Akindaya 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8) after several challenging rallies in which the Nigerian’s raw power severely tested the Welsh no.1.

With Jarvis seeing off Ramsden 3-0 in the top half of the draw, the other two spots in the semi-finals were clinched by the two Irishmen Maguire and McCreery. Maguire dominating his tie with Clark 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-7) while McCreery surprised third seed Ryota Kawai 3-0 (11-8, 12-10, 14-12) in a fine performance.

You’d have been forgiven to think that the Jarvis v McCreery semi-final would be the closer tie but Maguire had other ideas – shocking Jenkins to the tune of 11-2 in the first game of their match-up.

While Jarvis completed a relatively straightforward 3-1 (4-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5) win, Jenkins and Maguire battled out a topsy-turvey semi-final, heading into the decider with 11-2, 6-11, 2-11, 11-5 scorelines. Once again it came down to who raced out of the blocks quickest and this time it was the Welshman who tore ahead before sealing a 11-6 game and the win with a noticeable puff of the cheeks.

Perhaps this late endeavour told on the ‘Grand Prix King’ early in the final as he quickly found himself 2-0 behind to the English junior from Lincolnshire. At 10-8 to Jarvis in the third, the match was on the line but holding on hope for dear life, Jenkins not only took the third game 13-11 but also a fourth 11-9 to set up a one-game shootout for the title.

In the end the anticipation proved to be an anticlimax as the Englishman was unstoppable en route to a one-sided 11-1 final game and his second Grand Prix title of the season following success in Bristol.

Women’s Singles

Finalists Kelly Sibley and Chiara Colantoni with Chair of Table Tennis England, Sandra Deaton

Finalists Kelly Sibley and Chiara Colantoni with Chair of Table Tennis England, Sandra Deaton

Kelly Sibley won the women’s singles final against impressive Italian opponent Chiara Colantoni having battled through the strongest women’s entry of the season.

Starting as the top seed, Sibley was able to avoid the worst of a tough draw which included the ‘group of death’ featuring Charlotte Carey, Maria Tsaptsinos, Emma Vickers and Yolanda King – all of whom have played on the international scene.

While the English no.1 was able to secure her progress with comfort, defeating Amelia Chan, Emma Torkington (who came runner-up), Christina Wright and Beth Farnworth in straight games while dropping just the one end to Natalie Slater, the scene was different for the heavyweights paired up in group 2.

There were always likely to be a couple of casualties and, unfortunately, one of these came through injury as Maria Tsaptsinos was unable to continue following her 3-2 (8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 18-16, 11-6) defeat to Emma Vickers. Vickers, however, would also not see the knockout stages as an on-fire Yolanda King beat both her and Tsaptsinos in her opening two fixtures to all-but secure her progress.

She would eventually finish runner-up behind Welsh girl Charlotte Carey who won all of her matches, including the important 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-8) win over King.

The other two groups were more straightforward. English no.2 Tin-Tin Ho finished top of her group with three consecutive 3-0 victories, while Karina Le Fevre came through in second. Meanwhile, Chiara Colantoni picked up four 3-0 wins to secure her progress ahead of Emily Bolton who won three. Spare a thought for Laura Burbulevicius who twice lost in five ends.

The quarter-finals all went to form with the four group winners all gaining a spot in the semi-finals; Sibley beat Bolton 3-0, Ho beat King 3-1, Colantoni defeated Le Fevre 3-0 and Carey saw off Torkington 3-0.

Sibley and Colantoni then secured their place in the final with respective 3-1 wins over Ho and Carey. The English champion keeping her no. 2 at bay 3-1 (11-6, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3) while the Italian stayed one step ahead of Welsh star Carey 3-1 (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7).

Fortunately, for the spectators inside the venue, Sibley and Colantoni’s complimentary styles made for an entertaining title fight with both players happy to play away from the table and impart extra spin and pace onto the ball.

Throughout the contest the pair traded blows and rarely had much of a gap to speak of. Despite this, the English girl was able to secure the key points en route to a 2-0 (12-10, 11-8) lead. Colantoni fought back in the third to close the gap to 2-1 and was then able to save two match points in the fourth, but her steadfast defence was finally breached at 12-11 as Sibley clinched the title in Nottingham.

Men’s Under-21s

Alex Ramsden and Adam Harrison

Alex Ramsden and Adam Harrison

Alex Ramsden became the fifth different men’s under-21s winner this season in five full grand prix events as he battled past Adam Harrison in the final at the Nottingham Grand Prix.

Following on from previous champions Gabriel Achampong, Luke Savill, Callum Evans and Shaquille Webb-Dixon, Ramsden won his first under-21 event of the season to leave the standings wide open.

With Danny Lawrence absent, Ramsden became the top seed and duly won his group at cruise control. He defeated Zak Cantor, Nathan Butler and Mateusz Mikosz all in straight games to set up his charge on the knockout stages.

He didn’t show any mercy there as Charlie Fitzgerald (3-0), Joel Webb (3-0) and Gabriel Achampong (3-0) all suffered the same fate of his group victims.

Hoping to buck the trend in the final was University of Nottingham player Adam Harrison. Playing at his ‘home’ venue, Harrison won group 3 with back-to-back 3-0 victories before embarking on an impressive run of his own through the knockout stages, seeing off Nathan Butler (3-0), Matthew Leete (3-1) and finally Jack Bennett (3-1) in the semi-final.

However, when he met Ramsden he found the going just as tough as the other players on Sunday afternoon. The left-hander quietly going about his business to secure a seventh consecutive 3-0 win and the title to boot.
Women’s Under-21s

Emily Bolton and Tin-Tin Ho

Emily Bolton and Tin-Tin Ho

Tin-Tin Ho made swift work of the competition in the women’s under-21 event at the Nottingham Grand Prix – cruising to the title with just a single game dropped against her name.

Following her only defeat of the entire weekend (a women’s singles semi-final loss to eventual winner Kelly Sibley) the top seed dropped her only game to opening opponent Mollie Patterson 3-1 (11-2, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7) before embarking on six consecutive 3-0 victories.

Firstly in her group she saw aside the challenges from Beth Cook, Kate Cheer, Emma McSorley and Kitty Chow before defeating Emma Ludlow 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-4) to reach the final.

There she met Emily Bolton, who she had previously beaten in the women’s band 1 final from Saturday. Bolton, herself in fine form on the back of four straight victories in the group, had a harder task in reaching the final as she had to battle past Cheer in five close sets.

Despite falling 2-1 behind, Bolton showed great commitment to battle back and win the final two sets 11-4, 11-6 and set up the repeat final with Tin-Tin. However, there was to be no turnaround in fortune as the English no.2 maintained her dominance and made short work of the Lancastrian – conceding just 18 points in the process of taking home the glassware.


Jannik Larsen and Tomasz Rzeszotko

Jannik Larsen and Tomasz Rzeszotko

Danish veteran Jannik Larsen had the staying power to outlast grand prix regular Tomasz Rzeszotko in a gruelling five-end encounter late on Sunday evening.

Perhaps spurred on following his defeat to his son Esben in the men’s singles earlier, Jannik won group 2 and infuriated his knockout opponents Helmuth Osborne and Boguslaw Okouek with his determined defensive play.

Having beaten both 3-0 he was able to conserve vital energy for the final later on.

His opponent, on the other hand, had to fight past Peter Wilkinson 3-2 (11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6) before seeing off Shaun Bibby 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-9) in the semi-final to reach the last stage.

It didn’t seem to have any affect to begin with as the top seed Rzeszotko was able to march into a 2-0 lead. However, as time progressed and Larsen found his touch. Rzeszotko wearied and the Dane slowly ground his way back into the match, winning the third game 11-8, the fourth 11-4 and finally sealing the title with an 11-8 decider.
Open Doubles

Paul McCreery (without partner Gavin Maguire) Xuefan Liusco and Kenneth Lindsay

Paul McCreery (without partner Gavin Maguire) Xuefan Liusco and Kenneth Lindsay

Irishmen Paul McCreery and Gavin Maguire took the Open Doubles title at the Nottingham Grand Prix following a 3-1 victory over Kenneth Lindsay and Xuefan Liusco.

The Irish pair put aside their respective disappointments in falling at the semi-final stage of the men’s singles aside to pair up and dominate the early proceedings of the doubles tournament. Winning group 1 with victories over the established partnership of Bryan Kwan and Ho Yin Lee 3-1 and the newly-formed Charlotte Carey/Joe Killoran pairing 3-0, they wasted no time in booking a place in the final with a comprehensive 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-4) semi-final win over Ryan Jenkins and Cherith Graham.

Jenkins and Graham had finished runners-up in group 2 to Lindsay and Liusco who beat Beth Farnworth/Ryan Lunn 3-0 and then held their nerve in a cracking 3-2 (11-1, 4-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9) triumph.

The final was keenly contested between the quartet but it was the Irish pair who ultimately came out on top. Riding their fortune at a couple of key points, they were able to save the match from heading into a fifth set by securing the fourth 15-13 and taking the title home.

Nottingham Grand Prix
Men’s Singles
Tom Jarvis bt Ryan Jenkins 3-2 (11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 9-11, 11-1)
Women’s Singles
Kelly Sibley bt Chiara Colantoni 3-1 (12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11)
Men’s Under-21s
Alex Ramsden bt Adam Harrison 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 12-10)
Women’s Under-21s
Tin-Tin Ho bt Emily Bolton 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-4)
Jannik Larsen bt Tomasz Rzeszotko 3-2 (9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8)
Open Doubles
Paul McCreery/Gavin Maguire bt Kenneth Lindsay/Xuefan Liusco 3-1 (13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 15-13)

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