Daria Saville feels her best isn't far away after falling in a three-hour heartbreaker in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday night.
On the comeback trail after returning to the tour in June from a serious knee injury, Saville saved four match points before succumbing to 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 to Poland's Magdalena Frech.
The 29-year-old Australian looked down and out in the third set, trailing 2-5.
But she saved a match point while serving at 30-40 and then broke world No.69 Frech, before levelling at 5-5.
Ultimately the Pole proved too consistent for a wayward Saville, who has twice made the fourth round of the Open.
Saville's serve proved costly with 14 double faults, tossing up three consecutive doubles in one service game to give up an early break in the second set.
She also had 62 unforced errors compared to Frech's 38.
"I'm disappointed with the result, disappointed with my performance as well," Saville said.
"The best thing I can be positive about is the way I fought in the third, so no regrets there but overall I didn't play my best tennis - I didn't play as well as I was playing in Hobart or Brisbane."
Despite the telling stats, Saville said there were positives to take from the loss - notably being able to compete on the big stage for a three hour 10 minute battle which was the longest in the women's draw so far.
The one-time world No.20 felt upbeat about the year ahead.
"I'm close - there are glimpses of me being there already," she said.
"There were glimpses of me playing really good tennis in Hobart and even today there were moments were I played really well.
"The fact I can play a three-hour match, it's all really promising."
Saville will remain in Melbourne to partner fellow Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in the women's doubles beginning on Wednesday.