Canadian seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard vowed to hit the practice courts on Sunday after an alarming mid-match slump almost derailed her march into the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Bouchard, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, struggled to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, conceding her first set of the tournament before setting up a last eight clash against Maria Sharapova.
The rising star book-ended her match with scintillating tennis in the first and last sets but relaxed in the second, a mistake likely to prove fatal against Sharapova, Bouchard´s childhood idol who is seeded second this year.
Bouchard also hit a bumpy patch in her third round win over France´s Caroline Garcia, when her serve again misfired and the snappy returns she relies on failed to find their mark.
The Canadian, renowned for her work ethic, said she would take to the practice courts before Tuesday´s showdown with Sharapova in a bid to build consistency and confidence.
Bouchard built on last year´s Australian semi-final with appearances in the final four at Roland Garros, where she lost to Sharapova, and the title decider at Wimbledon.
The glamorous world number seven, already a superstar in her homeland, currently shies away from comparisons with Sharapova but once freely admitted that she modelled herself on the Russian.
Bouchard could have been channelling Sharapova when she spoke of how the never-say-die belief developed in her breakthrough year had helped her seize even the most difficult matches.
After battling to hold serve against Garcia, Bouchard looked to be sending a message against Begu winning 74 percent of first serve points in the opening set.
Cheered on by the “Genie Army”, she was dominant after easily taking the first set and leading 3-0 in the second before world number 42 Begu sparked to life and made a comeback.
Begu, who knocked out German ninth seed Angelique Kerber in the first round, intially froze during her first appearance in a Grand Slam fourth round but gained confidence as the match wore on.
The second set turned into an arm wrestle that went for more than an hour as the Romanian punished Bouchard´s serve to force a third set.