Bogomolov had been battling away for four hours, five sets, 49 games and 338 points against France's Arnaud Clement, but decided he simply could not face another ball as Clement reached match point in the final set, with Clement leading 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6 5-4.
World number 46 Bogomolov, who recently switched nationality from American to Russian, claimed that he was literally unable to continue despite being so close to the end.
"I got cramps and I retired," Bogomolov said. "My whole leg was straight. I couldn't bend it. I couldn't walk."
Pulling out of a match without good reason is frowned upon in the game, with many players often preferring to hobble through the final few points when fitness problems strike late in a match. Clement's compatriot Michel Llodra, who was at the match, said it was "very surprising" that Bogomolov hadn't played on for a few more seconds.
But Clement defended his beaten opponent, admitting that he too had been close to the brink as temperatures soared into the 30s at Roland Garros, and saying that he had almost pulled out while match point down in the fourth set.
"I was starting to feel cramps, as well," Clement said. "I know that some people shouted at him. I didn't like that, even though they were the same way encouraging me."