National champions: Women’s tennis edges Pepperdine in NCAA final

23 May By
Texas Women's Tennis NCAA Champions
The University of Texas women's tennis team celebrates its national championship win over Pepperdine in the final of the 2021 NCAA Tennis Championship at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida (photo by Manuela Davies / USTA).

ORLANDO, Fla. — Texas beat Pepperdine, 4-3, in one of its toughest matches of the season to win the 2021 national championship. Lulu Sun won the final game of the final set of the final match to send the Longhorns home with the trophy.

Texas was up, 1-0, after winning the doubles point. Lulu Sun and Kylie Collins won, 7-6, Anna Turati and Fernanda Labraña lost, 1-6, and Charlotte Chavatipon and Peyton Stearns won, 7-6, to give Texas the 1-0 lead, meaning Texas would need to win three of the six singles matches.

Stearns lost her first set 2-6, but then dominated the next two sets, 6-0, 6-2, to win the match. Chavatipon won, 6-2, 6-2, but Turati lost, 6-2, 6-3, Collins fell, 6-3, 7-6 and Malaika Rapolu lost, 6-4, 7-5, leaving one match to decide the championship.

Sun battled Taisiya Pachkaleva of Pepperdine down to the game and set. Sun won the first set, 6-4, but then dropped the second, 7-6, leading to a fight — Texas style. Sun led, 6-5, in the third set with the score 40-30 when 40 seconds of volleying back and fourth clinched the title for UT.

Here is the final game, set, and match:

Lulu Sun won the final singles match to help UT beat Pepperdine to win the NCAA championship (photo by Manuela Davies / USTA).
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