LONDON (Reuters) - Grigor Dimitrov expects to suffer a sleepless night after squandering four set points to level his Wimbledon semi-final against top seed Novak Djokovic before eventually taking his leave of the venerable tournament on Friday.
Trailing by two sets to one, the Bulgarian 11th seed looked to have the Serb on the back foot in the fourth, but Djokovic held his nerve to save a set point in the ninth game and three more in the tiebreak before sealing a 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 7-6(7) victory.
“You never know what would have happened if I had taken that fourth set,” he said, adding that the momentum was with him at that stage of the match.
“I‘m not going to lie if I say I don’t think about it now. I‘m sure tonight I probably won’t get an hour of sleep because of that.”
After a timid start against the 2011 champion, Dimitrov burst into life in the second set and took the battle to Djokovic with some athletic shot-making.
”The whole match was just a little bit up and down,“ Dimitrov said. ”Early on I think I was just a little anxious to play my big game.
”I wasn’t in a good rhythm, so I had to fight back after losing that first set and being a break down in the second.
“I needed to change a few things and I think the game slowly started to turn in my favor. Next thing you know, I got that second set and things were looking bright.”
Dimitrov came into the tournament having won his first career title on grass at the Queen’s Club event in London last month and continued that fine form to reach the last four at the All England Club.
The 23-year-old, who humiliated defending champion Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, said he hopes to build on the experience of playing in his first grand slam semi-final.
“It’s a good learning curve for me to put myself in such a position and play against those kind of players and attack the top in a different way,” he said.
“Of course, I‘m going to have to play even better when it comes to matches like that, but it’s a good lesson for me. I can take a lot of positives out of all the matches I played here.”
Reporting By Michael Hann; Editing by David Goodman