The Indian challenge at the $50,000 ITF women's tennis tournament ended with Sunitha Rao going down in straight sets 5-7, 2-6 to Ekaterina Dzehalevich of Belarus in the quarter-finals at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association Complex here on Thursday.
Sunitha, who was suffering from a stomach bug, appeared exhausted and made far too many unforced errors. Dzehalevich steadily upped the level of her game that was packed with power and good shot selection.
Sunitha started off on a promising note, breaking her opponent in the very first game. But Dzehalevich overcame her scratchy start in the second game to level
The trend continued and breaks were traded throughout the set. Sunitha snapped the service of the Dzehalevich in 3rd and 9th games but got broken in 6th, 10th and 12th. Dzehalevich constantly put Sunitha on her toes, sealing the set.
Dzehalevich was quick to take control of the second set and was up 3-0. Sunitha flickered for one last moment winning the next. But with Dzehalevich breathing down her neck, the Indian surrendered 2-6.
However, all is not over for Sunitha as she and her French partner Aurelie Vedy stormed into the doubles finals beating the Czech pair of Veronica Chvojkova and Andrea Hlavackova 7-5,7-5.
They will meet Friday Chinese Chun-Mei Ji and Sheng-Nan Sun who outplayed Indian sisters Neha and Shikha Uberoi 7-5, 6-3.
In the other singles quarterfinals, Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium beat Chenelle Scheepers of South Africa 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-3 while Naomi Cavaday of Britain beat Carmen Klaschka of Germany 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Margit Ruutel of Estonia thrashed Lenka Tvaroskova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last four stages.