New Delhi:Ekaterina Dzehalevich continued sending seeded players out of the USD 50,000 ITF women's tournament and her latest vicitim was India's last hope in the event, Sunitha Rao.
The seventh seed Indian lost her quarter-final against her Belarusian opponent 5-7 2-6 in an hour and 40 minutes at the DLTA complex.
Ekaterina, who had ousted second seed Mathilde Johansson of France in the second round, capitalised on an erring Sunitha, who squandered several opportunities to win the first set.
Both players played some engrossing rallies with no one willing to concede an inch, until Sunitha lost her rhythm and missed some easy smashes and volleys at the net.
Such was the intensity in the first half-an-hour of the match that both players did not let go even a slight error by the opponent.
Sunitha created the opening in the third game when Ekaterina netted a backhand and went up 3-1 after holding her serve in the next.
She had a chance to widen the gap in the fifth game but missed a couple of easy smashes when Ekaterina was in no position to reach for the ball.
Ekaterina levelled the score at 3-3 by breaking the second highest ranked Indian, thanks to a double fault and a missed smash by Sunitha.
Exchange of breaks in the ninth and 10th games followed to take the score to 5-5.
Sunitha needed to win the 12th game to stretch the set to a tie-breaker but again floundered, committing a double fault on deuce and then hitting a forehand wide.