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US Open Flashback: Steffi and Monica face-off in 1995 final – their first match since Seles was stabbed

http://www.open-tennis.com/images/rivalries-overview/Graf-Seles.jpgSecond of five parts

The April 1993 stabbing of Monica Seles at a tennis court in Hamburg, Germany was one of the most heinous things to ever happen at a professional sporting event and certainly on a tennis court. A 19 year old girl, number one in the world, attacked between games by a deranged man who never even served a jail sentence.

Seles recovered physically and probably could have resumed playing tennis by the 1994 Australian Open. But psychologically, she had been badly damaged and it was two-and-a-half years before she would return to the game. She was 25 pounds heavier but still had magnificant strokes. Monica won her first tournament back – the 1995 Canadian Open – convincingly then blasted her way to the US Open final.

It was here that Monica faced her biggest rival, Steffi Graf. I remember being so excited at seeing them play again and watching the intensity of their rallies and how they matched each other’s power shot-for-shot, you realized how much the game had missed out on during Seles’ recovery.

Steffi won the match 7-6, 0-6, 6-3 because she was the fitter player and it seemed to be validating as well because she had regained the top-ranking during most of Seles’ absence and beating her seemed to prove that she was indeed the best. I was happy Steffi won that day because I was a huge fan of hers but it retrospect, it would have been nice to see Monica pull out a win to add to the US titles she won in 1991 and 1992.

The two ladies would play in the finals again in 1996 but that match was more straight-forward with Steffi winning her fifth and International Tennis Hall of Fame last month and has written a book about her decade-long road to concurring her battle with weight.

Here is a video of the match highlights of the 1995 US Open final:

Part One: US Open Flashback: Edberg vs. Sampras in ’92

FILE UNDER: Tennis

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