Grigor Dimitrov has suffered one of the most excruciating losses at a grand slam in recent memory, forced to retire hurt after holding a two-set and 5-1 lead.
The Bulgarian 16th seed was on the cusp of victory against American Marcos Giron in the first round at the French Open on Sunday, up 5-1 in the third set with three match points.
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However things couldn't have gone worse from there as Dimitrov suffered a back injury and completely capitulated.
The three-time grand slam semi-finalist lost the next nine games in a row before calling it quits in immense pain at 0-3 in the fourth.
"My back is bad. I don't really know what to say," Dimitrov said in his post-match press conference.
"Disappointment, that's all. Nothing else right now. It's sport, it happens.
"I hope we can find what the problem is because right now it's not good.
"When I can't use almost any of my weapons regardless of who I play against, I have no choice."
Dimitrov suffered a similar issue against Aslan Karatsev in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February.
Fans were left shattered by the heartbreaking near-miss.
Wowow, Dimitrov led not just two sets to none, but was up 5-1 in the third, with triple match point at 0-40 on Giron’s serve.
Zut alors. #RG21
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 30, 2021
— Veena (@svv1729) May 30, 2021
@ThiemDomi and @GrigorDimitrov out of @rolandgarros after losing first round matches despite winning first two sets | @AlexZverev on verge after loosing first two sets! Upset Sunday at #frenchopen2021 #tennis
— UPENDRA SWAMI (@swamiupendra) May 30, 2021
Grigor Dimitrov followed suit shortly after 😢
— DX (@danihandjieva) May 30, 2021
It was hard to watch. 😭💔
— Andrew (@harrypotter1994) May 30, 2021
Speedy recovery to you @GrigorDimitrov
we are always proud of you❤️ and even more to have a player like you as our favorite player 😍
health first 1⃣
hope you get better soon 🙏
come back stronger we believe in you 💪💕 pic.twitter.com/yXGC5lguKj
— BillalLinky (@BillelLinky) May 30, 2021
Dominic Thiem stunned as Alexander Zverev survives
Dimitrov wasn't the only high-profile casualty at Roland Garros on Sunday, with two-time finalist Dominic Thiem stunned by veteran Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
Thiem has struggled for form since winning his first grand slam title at the US Open last year, but looked to be finding a way past Andujar when he opened up a two-set lead.
However Andujar fought back to win 4-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-4, recording his first victory over a top-five player at the age of 35.
Fourth seed Thiem had reached at least the quarter-finals on his previous five visits to Roland Garros, losing to Rafael Nadal in the final in 2018 and 2019.
"I was not struggling at all with my motivation but the game was just not there today," Thiem said.
"All the shots are missing power. They are not accurate enough."
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev rallied from two sets down to beat qualifier Oscar Otte 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-2 6-0 in his opening round clash.
The 24-year-old Zverev seemed to be heading for an early exit like Thiem but he found a different gear to turn around the contest.
For the rest of the match, it was one-way traffic against the 152nd-ranked Otte in the first meeting between the two Germans.
"I couldn't find my rhythm. In the third set I decided to hit the ball a little harder, hit the forehand a little heavier as well and managed to turn it around," Zverev said in his on-court interview.
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