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Ex-coach gets Bouchard back on Open track

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard has credited a reunion with coach Thomas Hogstedt as a key part of her strong start to the Sydney International event in Homebush.

Bouchard progressed to her first quarter-final in almost a year after upsetting world No.5 Dominika Cibulkova 6-4 6-3 on Tuesday's third day of the Australian Open warm-up event.

Bouchard has not ventured this deep into a tournament since going down to Elina Svitolina last March in a Kuala Lumpur final.

The world No.49 beat Chinese player Shuai Zhang on day one, although Bouchard insisted she had plenty of improvement left in the tank.

"Any time you play one of the best players in the world, it's like a standard of where you're at," she said of her second-straight win over the Slovakian.

"I have taken a couple of solid steps this week, but I'm far from where I want to be. Even though I won, to me, I could do a lot of things better."

The consecutive wins are a strong sign the former Wimbledon finalist is finally ready to reclaim her status as one of the elite in women's tennis.

The one-time world No.5 hasn't been the same since her controversial slip in the locker room during the 2015 US Open, where she had also partnered Nick Kyrgios in the mixed doubles.

A fall in the rankings ended in Bouchard parting ways with Hogstedt early last year, before a change of heart led to a reunion in December.

"I'm really happy and grateful that we are working together again. We have great chemistry, so we get along. I think he's one of the best coaches in the world," she said.

"He really brings a lot of energy, motivation. I feel like he has good vision for my game and really believes in it as well. I think we make a good team together."

Together, the pair saw fit to increase Bouchard's fitness and strength over a gruelling pre-season that she believed had her on track for Melbourne.

"I really tried to work on specific things in the off-season that I felt I really lacked in 2016, the most important of that being the physical aspect," she said.

"I feel good physically on the court. Even though it's hot, I don't feel like I'm completely dying inside. I feel like I could stay out there as long as I need to."

She faces Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Wednesday.

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