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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Sunitha Rao - Your Thoughts

I thought I'd make a thread for my favorite American junior player! I became a fan after watching her play 3 rounds of qualifying at the Aussie, and she played great tennis and showed a lot of heart. She also seems like a really nice young girl with a good team around her.

She'll be 18 later in the year and is currently in the top 200, but as I've only been following her career for a couple months now, what is the general consensus on Sunitha? How far can she go? IS she one of Team USA's brighter young prospects?

I see she's got 17 tournaments already, so with the AER in place, what is her next tournament?

Go Sunitha!
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2003, 05:07 AM
 
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Sunitha is definitely one of the brightest new starts on the circuit! She had a fair amount of success as a junior, so we're all hoping for big things from her in the future.

There has been talk of late that she may be "switching" to play for India -- we'll have to see how things pan out.

Sunitha is playing in the $25k Jackson challenger this week and is the #4 seed. Go Sunitha!

-neil
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2003, 05:29 AM
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she is definitely one of the young talents, but she needs to improve on everything. i mean, i dont think she's ready for any of the wta matches yet, but if she starts playing in qualifying and stuff, she should improve with time.

ps:i hope she moves back to india!

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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2003, 05:58 AM
 
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I think she'll get there in time -- she did knock off Ashley Harkleroad in the Aus Open qualies this year, and also made the second round at Bahia (Tier II) last year... You're right, there are areas to work on... but give her some time!

There was lots of talk early last year about her father feeling that she wasn't getting enough USTA attention. (See: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/a...art_id=2910332)

Recently, it was revealed that she had applied to play for India in Fed Cup... Anyone know where she was born? And if it's in the US as I'm assuming, how can she just change countries? Just curious.

-neil

Last edited by nkoth; Apr 16th, 2003 at 06:39 AM.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2003, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Nice to see this get bumped back up

nkoth - I noticed she was playing in Jackson, I hope she does really well there! Also, not too sure re the issues with playing for India etc. I do remember reading on that last year (an interview with her father I believe), but I dont know enough about it to contribute

Whatever happens, I just hope it doesnt affect her tennis
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 17th, 2003, 04:23 AM
 
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Yeah, I definitely hope she's able to maintain her focus through all of this.

In Jackson, she's had a great start to the tournament:

[R1] #4 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,183) d. (WC) Julia Cohen (USA) 64 63
[R1] Sunitha Rao/ Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR) d. Milangela Morales (USA)/ Aneta Soukup-Zahalka (CAN) 7-6 (10), 6-3

Her next singles match is going to be very interesting!

[R2] #4 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,183) vs (Q) Viktoriya Kutuzova (RUS)

-neil
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 18th, 2003, 05:29 AM
 
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[R2] #4 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,183) d. (Q) Viktoriya Kutuzova (RUS) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Nice gritty win after a bad start! Next up:

[QTR] #4 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,183) vs. (Q) 366 Tina Schiezhtl (AUT)

Tina's been playing well, but Sunitha should be able to get through this next one... I hope?

-neil
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 18th, 2003, 09:15 PM
 
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Wasn't to be...

[QTR] #4 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,183) l. (Q) 366 Tina Schiezhtl (AUT) 26, 46

She's still alive in doubles, though.

Next week she's at the $75K in Dothan, AL in the main draw.

-neil
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2003, 05:37 PM
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what's her game like? Does she have a weapon?


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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 2003, 11:27 PM
 
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Haven't yet had an opportunity to see her play (though I'll try and change that at this year's US Open) but from what I hear, she doesn't have a big weapon that will push her to the top of the women's game. I'm hopeful she'll improve enough to crack the Top 100 soon though...

Here's a quote from a newspaper article last year: The American influence is very strong in her tennis, the power play, mobility and aggression on court... "I have been taught to play that way," observed Sunitha, who bounces about on court, is athletic enough to get within range of every return and hit punishing ground strokes. Comfortable slugging it out from the baseline or catching rivals off-guard at the net, her battle for a point begins with the serve or service return. "I used to admire Steffi Graf, now I like Kim Clijsters and Jelena Dokic, both attacking baseliners like me..."

If anyone has seen her play, what are your thoughts about her style of play and chances in the future?

-neil
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 2003, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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I watched 3 of her matches in AO qualies this year. She doesn't really have an 'outright' weapon, but she certainly can hit hard. She was matching Harkleroad stroke for stroke, and not much was separating them that day. Hopefully seeing Ashley do so well lately will spur Sunitha on

I noticed she has good mobility, and seems fit, but needs to work on her shot selection. Sometimes she would go for too much at an inappropriate time.

I like her future, but there are so many girls with similar games so Sunitha has to saty with them and possibly try new things so that she doesn't get left behind. I'm confident she can have a good future
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 2003, 10:28 PM
 
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...And the fact that she beat Ashley that day in Australia is certainly a good sign that she can pull out big wins on a big stage.

BTW, she lost in the first round to Maria Elena Camerin, the 7th seed, in last week's $75K Dothan tourney... The score was 7-5, 6-1.

Her next tournament is the $25K Cloister Cup at Sea Island, Georgia next week. She's currently listed as the #8 seed, but will probably rise 1-2 spots as withdrawals occur. Last year, she got to the quarterfinals before losing to Melissa Torres.

Go Sunitha!

-neil
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2003, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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It will be interesting to see if Sunitha can hold on to her seeding (which is 5) and face Anna K in the QF of Sea Island this week

Good luck girl!
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2003, 05:12 AM
 
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[R1] 5 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA, 177) d. Q Allison Bradshaw (USA, 453) 3-6 6-2 6-1

Next up should be a slightly easier match against an up-and-coming 16 year old:
[PQF] 5 Sunitha Rao (IND/USA) vs. WC Michelle Mitchell (USA)

A beatable Anna Kournikova looms as a possible quarterfinal matchup...

-neil
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old May 12th, 2003, 02:35 AM
 
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Unfortunately, Sunitha couldn't make it past Anna, falling 63 63 to the former Top Tenner...

Better luck next time!
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