Grigor Dimitrov, the 11th seed and a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year after knocking out Andy Murray, continued his miserable 2015 when he was knocked out in the third round by France's Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
At 24, Maria Sharapova's beau is now being perceived as an under-achiever. John McEnroe has called it “a critical crossroads for him” and he took a wrong turning against the ever-stylish Gasquet, seeded 21 and one of four Frenchmen to make the last 32.
Gasquet had won their previous four meetings - an exhibition match last week excluded - and was rarely troubled during a contest that did not quite touch the heights expected thanks to Dimitrov's inconsistency. Almost his only uncomfortable moment was in throwing away four match points before the Bulgarian helped him out by ending the match with two tired forehands into the net.
Centre Court expected a classy contest with Gasquet's backhand in particular still a thing of beauty. Neither man was afraid to come to the net, and Dimitrov won one point in the first set with a lob through the legs Federer-style that Gasquet in his surprise volleyed out. But Dimitrov had paid a penalty for starting slowly, double-faulting to concede the second game of the match. Wasting his best chance to claw back the break at 2-4 he lost the set in 37 minutes.
In the second set he began to get far more of his first serves in but at 3-3 played an error-strewn service game and was broken as Gasquet brilliantly dug-out a low forehand to pass him. Unable to take advantage of the Gasquet serve even when the Frenchman double-faulted twice in a single game Dimitrov was in serious trouble, compounded when Gasquet's service winner brought him the set.
Aware that he had never come back to win from two sets down, Dimitrov took a toilet break to collect his thoughts, only to be broken again for 2-3. Gasquet was never again in danger of losing his own serve and completed a throughly deserved success in just under two hours.
“I know I can play well on grass, my game suits it,” he said. “It's a great performance from me. I did the semis some years ago (2007) and I'll try to do it again.”Reuse content