Sunitha Rao
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Sunitha Rao
Sunitha Rao
Sunitha Rao Albuquerque 2008.jpg
Country (sports) United States (2000-09)
 India (2007-09; Fed Cup and Olympic tournaments only)
ResidenceBradenton, Florida, U.S.
Born (1985-10-27) October 27, 1985 (age 35)
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Turned pro2004
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize moneyUS$ 238,224
Career record196-188
Career titles0
Highest rankingNo. 144 (July 7, 2008)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenQ3 (2003, 2005)
French OpenQ2 (2005, 2006)
WimbledonQ3 (2003)
US OpenQ3 (2007)
Career record107-105
Career titles0 WTA, 8 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 108 (May 19, 2008)
Other doubles tournaments
Olympic Games2R (2008)

Sunitha Rao (born October 27, 1985) is an Indian-American former professional tennis player.

She has won 8 doubles titles on the ITF circuit in her career. On July 7, 2008, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 144. On May 19, 2008, she peaked at world number 108 in the doubles rankings. Rao announced retirement from tennis 2009.

Playing for India at the Fed Cup, Rao has a win-loss record of 5-6.[1] Rao also is the fourth female tennis player in history representing India to enter the top-200 world rankings, after Nirupama Sanjeev, Shikha Uberoi, and Sania Mirza.

Personal life

Sunitha was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and raised by parents Manohar and Savithri.



Rao played her first WTA match at the 2002 Brasil Open - Women's Singles event, where she defeated Vanessa Henke in the first round. She was beaten by Anastasia Myskina in the second round.

Rao played at the Hansol Korea Open 2004 where she was beaten by Miho Saeki in the first round. Rao participated at the Internationaux de Strasbourg 2005, but was overpowered by Iveta Bene?ová in the first round. Then she played at the Sunfeast Open where she beat Neha Uberoi in the first round before falling to Elena Likhovtseva.

She took part at the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic 2006, where she lost to Angelique Widjaja in the First Round. She also suffered a first round defeat at the 2006 Sunfeast Open to Nicole Pratt. Rao defeated Sandy Gumulya in the First Round of the Sunfeast Open to advance to the second round where she lost to Anne Keothavong. She then lost in the first round of the 2007 Challenge Bell to Alina Jidkova.


Rao received an entry into the PTT Pattaya Open via a Lucky Loser spot. She beat Junri Namigata before losing to Ekaterina Bychkova. Then, at the Copa Colsanitas, she lost to Edina Gallovits in the first round.

Rao received the best result of her WTA career at the 2008 DFS Classic in Birmingham. She beat Petra Kvitová (who would be the future world no.2 and Wimbledon titlist) in the first round and Naomi Cavaday in the second before falling to Alona Bondarenko in the third round.

She partnered with Sania Mirza, representing India in the women's doubles event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[2][3] They got a walk-over in round one, but lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina of Russia in round two.


In 2003, when asked by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to represent India in WTA and ITF tournaments, her family asked for Rs. 5 crores, an offer that the AITA refused.[4]

Rao, along with Sania Mirza,[5] was photographed violating the dress code at Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony parade in 2008.[6][7]

ITF Finals

Singles (0-7)

$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$15,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 1. February 24, 2002 Mumbai, India Hard China Peng Shuai 3-6, 6-7(3-7)
Runner-up 2. November 10, 2002 Mexico City, Mexico Hard Czech Republic Olga Vymetálková 6-7(2-7), 3-6
Runner-up 3. October 17, 2004 Mackay, Australia Hard Australia Evie Dominikovic 5-7, 3-6
Runner-up 4. October 24, 2004 Rockhampton, Australia Hard Australia Evie Dominikovic 0-6, 0-2 ret.
Runner-up 5. July 8, 2007 Southlake, United States Hard United States Alexa Glatch 2-6, 5-7
Runner-up 6. October 14, 2007 San Francisco, United States Hard United States Ashley Harkleroad 1-6, 2-6
Runner-up 7. March 22, 2008 Noida, India Hard Latvia Anastasija Sevastova 2-6, 1-6

Doubles (8-7)

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
Runner-up 1. January 18, 2004 Tampa, United States Hard United States Milangela Morales Russia Alisa Kleybanova
Japan Mayumi Yamamoto
2-6, 4-6
Runner-up 2. May 16, 2004 Charlottesville, United States Clay Puerto Rico Vilmarie Castellvi Argentina Erica Krauth
United States Jessica Lehnhoff
0-6, 1-6
Winner 1. November 14, 2004 Port Pirie, Australia Hard Australia Casey Dellacqua Australia Daniella Dominikovic
Australia Evie Dominikovic
4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8-6)
Winner 2. November 13, 2005 Port Pirie, Australia Hard Germany Gréta Arn Australia Monique Adamczak
Australia Christina Horiatopoulos
6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Winner 3. November 27, 2005 Mount Gambier, Australia Hard Japan Ryoko Fuda Germany Gréta Arn
Russia Anastasia Rodionova
6-1, ret.
Winner 4. May 7, 2006 Charlottesville, United States Clay Canada Marie-Ève Pelletier Brazil Maria Fernanda Alves
United States Lilia Osterloh
6-7(6-8), 6-2, 6-3
Runner-up 3. July 23, 2006 Hammond, United States Hard Japan Ry?ko Fuda United States Christina Fusano
United States Raquel Kops-Jones
6-7(3-7), 6-4, 1-6
Runner-up 4. October 8, 2006 Traralgon, Australia Hard Australia Casey Dellacqua Australia Christina Horiatopoulos
United States Raquel Kops-Jones
2-6, 6-7(5-7)
Winner 5. October 15, 2006 Melbourne, Australia Hard Australia Casey Dellacqua Australia Daniella Dominikovic
Australia Evie Dominikovic
6-3, 6-2
Runner-up 5. January 20, 2007 Fort Walton Beach, United States Hard Canada Marie-Ève Pelletier Germany Angelika Bachmann
United States Tetiana Luzhanska
7-5, 6-7(7-9), 6-7(4-7)
Winner 6. June 2, 2007 Carson, United States Hard South Africa Kim Grant United States Angela Haynes
United States Lindsay Lee-Waters
6-4, 6-4
Winner 7. June 17, 2007 Allentown, United States Hard Japan Ry?ko Fuda United States Angela Haynes
United States Lindsay Lee-Waters
6-7(3-7), 6-4, 6-1
Runner-up 6. March 14, 2008 New Delhi, India Hard France Aurélie Védy China Ji Chunmei
China Sun Shengnan
6-2, 2-6, [4-10]
Winner 8. May 11, 2008 Zagreb, Croatia Clay Hungary Melinda Czink France Stéphanie Foretz
Croatia Jelena Kostani? To?i?
6-4, 6-2
Runner-up 7. October 5, 2008 Troy, United States Hard United States Angela Haynes United States Raquel Kops-Jones
United States Abigail Spears
2-6, 0-6


  1. ^ Sunitha Rao at the Billie Jean King Cup
  2. ^ "India names 57-member squad for Beijing Olympics". IBNLive. July 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Sunitha Rao". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Shekar, Nirmal (August 7, 2003). "Putting a price on patriotism? You must be joking!". The Hindu.
  5. ^ "Slipshod India cuts a sorry figure in Olympic opening ceremony". IBNLive. August 9, 2008. Archived from the original on July 30, 2014. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ "Olympics: Intruder in Indian contingent". Yahoo! India News. July 29, 2012. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "I'll play with anyone for my country: Sania Mirza". The Times of India. July 8, 2012. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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