Budapest: Young Ritu Malik kept India in medal contention by reaching the bronze play-off but there was no end to the woes of Sakshi Malik, who suffered a humiliating quarterfinal defeat, and Ritu Phogat at the World Championship here on Wednesday.
Ritu Malik, who had defeated celebrated Geeta Phogat in the trials, edged out Bulgaria's Sofiya Hristova Georgieva 9-8 in the repechage round despite lagging behind twice in an exciting bout.
She trailed 0-3 after the first period but a four-point throw in the second period and a step out-point pushed her ahead 5-3.
However, the confident Bulgarian reduced the deficit to one point soon. Ritu again found a four-point move to zoom to a 9-6 lead. Sofiya kept Ritu Malik under pressure but the Indian grappler just about managed to maintain her lead to progress to the medal round.
Ritu Malik now has a task at hand as she is up against 2017 U-23 world champion and this year's World Cup gold medal winner Ayana Gempei from Japan.
There was yet another disappointment in store for Olympic medallist Sakshi, who was outclassed 2-16 by Japan's Yukako Kawai, a two time World Cup gold winner in the 62kg category.
Sakshi lost a point for passivity but took the break with a 2-1 lead after a takedown move.
However, in the second period, the Japanese inflicted a humiliation on the Indian. Yukako took three points with a leg-hold move and consolidated the lead with a take down. She followed it up with 'fitley', rolling Sakshi four times to log eight points.
Sakshi had endured a below-par show at the Commonwealth Games, where she won a bronze in a weak field and failed to reach the medal round at the Jakarta Asian Games.
In the 50kg category, Ritu Phogat, who replaced her injured cousin Vinesh Phogat, made a stupendous start by winning the pre-quarterfinal against Thi Yuan Nguyen by technical superiority but lost the quarterfinal by fall to Yui Susaki, the 2017 world champion in 48kg category.
Pinki (53kg) lost her quarterfinal to Poland's Katarzyna Krawczyk 2-7 while CWG silver medallist Pooja Dhanda lost 3-4 to China's Ningning Rong at the same stage in the 57kg....