Resurgent former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open quarter-finals for the 12th time on Sunday as he subdued feisty Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4 6-2.
Dimitrov said he had lost his "nerve" after dropping the opener and said he would take a little time off to reflect on a European clay court season that began with a semi-final run in Monte Carlo but ended with a whimper.
"Maybe I'm sleeping. It's awesome, it's unbelievable for me".
"Considering all the circumstances in the last 15 months it is quite an achievement to get to the quarters of a Slam", said Djokovic, who has also reached the Roland Garros last eight for a ninth successive year.
When pressed on whether that meant he would not play at Wimbledon, the 31-year-old Serb was non-committal.
Djokovic then held three set points in the tiebreaker - "I saw ghosts", Cecchinato would joke - but couldn't convert.
Cecchinato became the lowest-ranked semi-finalist at Roland Garros since No 100 Andrei Medvedev advanced to the last four back in 1999.
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In a topsy-turvy afternoon on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic raced through the third set in just 27 minutes before requiring further medical attention, this time for a right leg injury.
Cecchinato received a penalty point immediately after Djokovic was treated, for unsportsmanlike conduct after a lengthy argument with the umpire and supervisor for leaving the court without permission.
Cecchinato defeated Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11) to become the first Italian in 40 years to reach the semi-final of a Grand Slam.
Djokovic won 144 points to Cecchinato's 140 in the end but was surprisingly less effective in the clutch plays, one particular area of his game that seemingly still needs recovery. I was so exhausted, but I won the match. awesome.
Japan's Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, made short work of home hope Gilles Simon as he cruised into the fourth round for the fifth time.
One break of serve was enough to take the opening set and although left-hander Verdasco produced some thunderous winners to stay in touch in the second his challenge faded. I couldn't serve. I couldn't really do anything. "Sorry, guys, I can't give you that answer".
Second seed Zverev, 21, needed his left thigh strapped in the second set and looked disconsolate as Thiem widened his advantage with a clinical display of hitting.
Thiem admitted he would be wary of the Italian in the semi-finals, particularly after the calibre of opponent he's beaten.