May 23, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia senior Ignacio Taboada won the 100th singles match of his career as he was one of three Bulldog men's tennis players to notch wins on the first day of the 2012 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships singles tournament that began Wednesday in Athens.
Taboada as well as fellow seniors Wil Spencer and Sadio Doumbia won their opening matches to mark just the eighth time in UGA history in which three Bulldogs are headed to the singles second round and the first since 2007. Georgia also sent three players into the second round in 1998.
The win marked the first singles victories for all three players, while it was Taboada's first career trip to the individual tournament.
"It feels good," Taboada said. "I was pretty nervous to come out because this was my first NCAA (individuals), so I lost that first service game and that was a tough way to start, obviously. I just tried to fight and looked for one opportunity just to give me a little bit of momentum, and I got it in the second set and really started playing well after that. The other guys played well today, and that's good for Georgia."
"It's special," he said of 100 wins. "I was definitely thinking about it in the third set, 'Oh, I have a chance to get 100 here' and it's really special to me. Just a lot of hard work, and I couldn't have done it without the coaches and my team to push me to get it done, so I'm just really happy for that."
Taboada become's Georgia's 16th player to reach 100 singles wins and second this season as Spencer did so on April 14 vs. Tennessee.
Taboada was Georgia's final player on court today and wrapped up the day on a high note as he rebounded from a loss of the first set to defeat Baylor's Mate Zsiga by a score of 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. He will move on to face Kentucky's Alex Musialek in the second round tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Spencer took down Georgia Tech's Juan Spir 6-3, 6-0, while Doumbia moved on with his 6-2, 6-4 decision over Kyle McMorrow of Washington. Spencer will face Virginia Tech's Luka Somen, who he beat in three sets earlier this year, while Doumbia will meet LSU's Neal Skupski.
The Bulldogs' other two individual competitors - junior KU Singh and sophomore Hernus Pieters - took first-round losses. Singh suffered a tough 7-6(4), 6-4 setback to the Yellow Jackets' Kevin King, while Pieters fell 6-3, 6-4 to No. 9-16 seed Costin Paval of Oklahoma. The Bulldogs' five players in the singles bracket tied for the most in the field with now four-time defending national champions Southern California.
Georgia players have won the NCAA singles title four times: Mikael Pernfors in 1984 and 1985 and Matias Boeker in 2001 and 2002. Pernfors beat teammate George Bezecny for the crown in 1985. The Bulldogs have won three NCAA doubles titles including Ola Malmqvist and Allen Miller in 1983, Boeker and Travis Parrott in 2001, and John Isner and Antonio Ruiz in 2005.
Georgia is hosting the NCAA Championships for the 30th time in 2012. The Bulldogs reached the quarterfinals of the team championships, falling 4-3 to Pepperdine here on Sunday.
Second round times will be set later this evening and posted to Georgiadogs.com.