Top seeded Grandmaster Koneru tried her best but could not breach Zhao Xue's defence and drew a tense game to remain joint third after the ninth round of the IS Bank Ataturk Women Grand Prix chess event in Istanbul.
Humpy raised visions of a victory against leader Zhao that would have brightened his title prospects but the Chinese kept herself in the game with some fine defence and in the end it was a drawn endgame that surfaced on the board.
Consequentially, Zhao remained in sole lead inching up to 7.5 points out of a possible nine in the 12-players round robin tournament which is a part of the next world championship cycle.
Compatriot Yifan Hao (7) remained in the second spot after she failed to capitalise on the extra pawn against Marie Sebag of France and settled for a draw.
Humpy shares the third spot along with Elina Danielian of Armenia with 6.5 points apiece.
In other games of the day Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria won against Zeinab Mamedyarova of Azerbaijan as did Elina Danielian against Martha Baquero Fierro of Ecuador.
Local hopeful Betul Cemre Yildiz scored her first win against Shen Yang of China, while Pia Cramling of Sweden won her second game in a row against Maia Chiburdanidze in the clash of the two most experienced names in the field.