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Monica Seles was only 16 years old in 1990, but she had already beaten Martina Navratilova once and Steffi Graf twice that year, including a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Graf in the French Open finals.
Ranked No. 3 in the world when the U.S. Open rolled around, Seles breezed into the third round, losing just four games in the first two rounds combined.
More of the same was expected in the third round against Linda Ferrando, who was ranked No. 82 and had lost in the first or second round of her last five tournaments heading into the Open.
Seles knew nothing about Ferrando. Seles did not even recall Ferrando being at the other end of the court during a practice session in Chicago in February 1990, the New York Times reported.
Ferrando, 24, did not make an impression in the first set against Seles in the Open either, losing it 6-1. But Ferrando began to frustrate Seles with her attacking style that featured frequent trips to the net. Despite being bothered by leg cramps, according to the New York Times article, Ferrando rallied for a 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory.
"I've never seen her play so I didn't know what to expect from her,'' Seles said, according to the New York Times story. "'But after the first set, I knew that she would be a bigger problem to finish off."
Six months later, Seles was ranked No. 1, and she won the next five Grand Slam events she entered (and seven of the next eight) after the loss to Ferrando.
Ferrando played in the U.S. Open four more times, losing in the first round three times and the second round once.