LONDON (Reuters) - Grigor Dimitrov ended up on the second round scrapheap along with girlfriend Maria Sharapova after losing a rain-interrupted five-setter against Grega Zemlja at Wimbledon on Friday.
The Bulgarian 29th seed joined the long list of big names to fall as Slovenian Zemlja held his nerve to claim a 3-6 7-6 3-6 6-4 11-9 victory on Court Three.
Dimitrov, who twice led by a set, had trailed 8-9 in the decider when play was stopped by rain on Thursday.
After another rain delay on Friday, the match finally resumed but took a bizarre twist when, serving at 30-30, Dimitrov slipped over after launching a serve and, despite a valiant attempt to play his next shot on his knees, went match point down.
With Sharapova watching on from the front row of seats behind the baseline, he immediately walked to his chair and told the umpire the court was too greasy to continue playing.
With light drizzle still in the air, the players sat on their chairs for a long time while 22-year-old Dimitrov, once labeled “Baby Federer” because of his stylish game, contemplated trying to stay in the tournament.
When play started again he saved the match point with a hefty first serve which Zemlja returned into the net tape.
He then saved two more match points to level at 9-9.
Zemlja saved a break point in the following game to move 10-9 in front and when his fourth match point of the day arrived he converted with a superb running forehand pass.
The 55th-ranked Zemlja will play eighth seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris