After all the spruiking and false dawns, Bernard Tomic is one win away from accomplishing his season goal of a top-20 ranking.
In a box-ticking 2015, Tomic has collected his third career title, surged from 71st to 24th in the world and now made the last 32 at the US Open for the first time.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, with the 22-year-old also arrested in Miami and facing court for a wild house party and also suspended from Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final triumph over Kazakhstan for an attack on Tennis Australia bosses.
“I am working as hard as I can,” Tomic said ahead of his third-round tussle with Richard Gasquet at Flushing Meadows.
“I am putting the main thing in front of me and that is tennis, to be the best that I can.
“I started the year at 70, 75, but I am getting closer. I am coming 16, 17 in the race. It is my best year.
“I have the opportunity to finish the year strong.”
Tomic trails Gasquet 5-1 in head-to-head meetings and has lost all three matches on hard courts to the 12th-seeded Frenchman without winning a set.
But he is clinging to the memories of a lone victory over Gasquet as a source of hope that he can upset the Wimbledon semi-finalist to continue his breakout US Open.
Tomic is also buoyed by smashing a four-year second-round hoodoo in New York with his epic win over idol Lleyton Hewitt, a victory that guarantees the Australian No.1 a rise to 22nd in the rankings.
“I spoke to him (Gasquet) in the locker room. He was, as well, very tired. He was feeling some problems out there. Everyone is feeling problems,” Tomic said.
“I think my record is 4-1. I beat him in a very important one, which is Wimbledon, third round, 2013.
“Every match we had in the past was very close. I’ve learned a lot when I played him. He’s an amazing player. He’s not easy to play.
“I have to take each match that I played against him and use it for this third-round match.”
The junior champion at Flushing Meadows in 2009, Tomic had fallen at the second hurdle for the past four years in a row.
“Since I was 18,” he said.
“I’m happy now. My fifth year. I’m in the third round for the first time.
“It’s very good for me. I have a chance now to make the fourth round. It’s not going to be easy, but I have the opportunity. I have to prepare as best as I can.”
Awaiting in the last 16 for Tomic or Gasquet – who eliminated Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon – will be either Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych or Spanish 31st seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.