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Javier Taborga Upsets Third Seed and Defending Champion At ITA All-American Championships

Oct. 12, 2000

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Notre Dame men’s tennis junior Javier Taborga upset Stanford’s third-seeded and defending champion K.J. Hippensteel 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 on Friday in the second round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s All-American Championships, the second leg of the ITA Grand Slam at the Lincoln Tennis Center at Stone Mountain, Ga. The unranked Taborga — who had beaten one ranked opponent in his first two seasons at Notre Dame combined — beat two ranked players on Thursday to reach the final 16. In his first match of the day Taborga defeated Auburn’s 31st-ranked Georges Matijasevic 6-1, 7-5 in the first round to set up his match against Stanford’s No. 1 player. Up next for Taborga in the third round will be Geogia freshman Bo Hodge, who defeated the 13th-seeded player in the second round.

Taborga and Hippensteel split the first two sets 6-1 before Taborga took a 4-2 lead in the third set. Hippensteel broke serve to pull within 4-3, but Taborga then broke back to lead 5-3 and served out the match for 6-3. Taborga earned a spot in the main draw by winning a pair of matches in the qualifying draw, defeating Kansas’ Ed?Dus 6-0, 6-1 on Tuesday and East Tennessee State’s 65th-ranked Gustavo?Gomez 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday. Hippensteel was trying to become only the second player in 21 years to repeat as All-American champion.

“I served well and that opened up things for my forehand and allowed me to attack,” said the left-handed Taborga, the first Notre Dame player to reach the round of 16 at the ITA All-American since Ryan Sachire in 1998, who went on to reach the final that year. “Hippensteel is a great player and I knew I’d have to play great to win. I went out there and just tried to play the type of game where he was going to have to beat me.”

The ninth-ranked and fifth-seeded doubles pair of Taborga and junior Aaron Talarico — who lost 6-3, 6-4 to Mississippi State’s Rene Combette in his first qualifying match on Tuesday — begin play in the main draw of the doubles competition on Friday. They will play 42nd-ranked Chris McDonald and Matt Soto of Mississippi State in the first round.