Qualifier Sunitha Rao put up a good fight before bowing to fifth seed Alona Bondarenko in the third round of women's singles at the US $200,000 DFS Classic in Birmingham on Friday.
Sunitha, at 160 in the WTA charts, was up against world No 29 and put up a spirited fight before losing 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a little over two hours.
The Indian broke her fancied Ukrainian opponent in the first game of the match and once more in the opening set to take the lead.
However, the fifth seed lived up to her reputation and drew parity in the second by breaking thrice in the second set, which saw fortunes fluctuating.
The third and deciding set belonged to Bondarenko as perhaps Sunitha gave in to big match pressure and missed out on making her first WTA quarter-final appearance.
Earlier, Sania Mirza's campaign ended in the doubles event as well when she and her American partner Bethanie Mattek lost in the first round to Russian-American combine of Natalie Grandin and Raquel Kops-Jones.
The fourth seeded Indo-American pair fought well from a set down but eventually lost 4-6, 6-3, 4-10 and crash out of the Tier-III tournament.