Fangran Tian of the University of California, Los Angeles conquers the NCAA Singles!

Tian joined UCLA Athletic Hall of Famer Keri Phebus as the only Bruins to lift the trophy at the season-ending event

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Fangran Tian of the University of California, Los Angeles conquers the NCAA Singles!

Freshman Fangran Tian of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) women's tennis team won the 2023 NCAA Championships singles tournament Saturday, at the USTA National Campus, defeating Oklahoma's Layne Sleeth in the final, with the score by 6-4, 6-2 for the second NCAA singles title in program history for UCLA.

Tian, broke Sleeth's serve for a 2-0 lead in the first set. However, Sleeth quickly stormed back to get the match back on serve, where she would stay until the last game of the set. A vital tie point went in Tian's favor 6-4, preventing Sleeth from extending the set with the ball in her court.

The first break of the second set came once again from Tian's racket, this time for 3-1. So, not only did Tian consolidate the break, but she also added her second break of the set to make it 5-1. Sleeth didn't go down without a fight, backing away.

Tian ended things there though, sending a forehand past Sleeth to break once more before running into the arms of volunteer assistant coach Errol Smith. Tian joined UCLA Athletic Hall of Famer Keri Phebus as the only Bruins to lift the trophy at the season-ending event.

En route to the title, Tian won six matches without dropping a single set. She completed her college debut season with a 30-7 singles record, including a 17-6 mark against nationally ranked opponents. The NCAA singles championship represents the first in the career of Stella coach Sampras Webster, who was on her staff as an assistant coach under Bill Zaima when Phebus picked up hers.

Tian's path to the title: No. 60 Thasaporn Naklo (Iowa State) 6-4, 6-4, No. 53 Natasha Subhash (Virginia) 6-4, 6-0, No. 29 Alexandra Yepifanova (Stanford) 7-5, 6-3, no. 36 Kari Miller (Michigan) 6-4, 6-2, no. 11 Maddy Sieg (USC) 6-3, 6-2 and no.

50 Layne Sleeth (Oklahoma) 6-4, 6-2.

About the UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the most important and prestigious US public and research universities in the world, located in Los Angeles, California within the residential area of Westwood.

Established in 1919 from the transformation of a previous higher education institution, the State Normal School, founded in 1882 to train teachers, it is the second oldest campus in the University of California system, after that of Berkeley.

In 1914, the school moved to a new campus on Vermont Avenue in Hollywood. In 1917, principal Ernst Carrol Moore suggested that the State Normal School become the second campus of the University of California. The law was passed on March 23, 1919, transforming the school into the southern branch of the University of California, and introducing graduate programs in literature and science.

UCLA is one of the most important and valid universities in the NCAA, the federation that organizes university team sports tournaments. The varsity teams are called the Bruins and have blue and gold uniforms. The Bruins participate in NCAA Division I-A as part of the Pacific-12 Conference.

The Bruins' mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, and the "sports anthems" are Sons of Westwood and the Mighty Bruins.

Photo Credits: UCLA website

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