There is a time when it is recognisable that a player has made the step from good to great.

It normally comes via titles, more often via Masters/Premier events or grand slams.

Having reached the quarter-finals in only her second appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park, the first words the Canadian uttered in the press room were: "It's disappointing."

Of course, she was justified in answering a question regarding her second-set slip up to Irina-Camelia Begu, the world number 42 arresting a double-break deficit to square the match before Bouchard ran out a 6-1 5-7 6-2 victor.

At just 20 years of age, Bouchard has already one major final and two other grand slam semi-final appearances to her name - and the Canadian is demanding more from herself after her first patchy performance of the fortnight in Melbourne.

"It's disappointing for me because I want to play so well and I want to be perfect," said Bouchard, of her second-set blunder.

"That's not possible. It happens. I think I started being a bit less aggressive, a bit too passive, and you know, that's not my game at all. I don't do well when that happens.

"She [Begu] could string together a few good points here and there, hit some good shots and serves and got some confidence in the second set. You know, that helped her.

"So definitely disappointing. But I learned a lot from it and I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen next time."

Next up for Bouchard is another player famous for demanding high standards of herself - second seed Maria Sharapova.

Bouchard said she hopes to not back down against the five-time major winner, with the Russian having won all three of their meetings.

"I think I've progressed a lot since then [last Sharapova match], and, you know, I definitely want to keep playing my game no matter what," she said.

"Really kind of take it to her, go for my shots. That's what I want to do on the court.

"And it's more fun when I play that way, too. I had more fun in the third set today. So I want to try to do that."

Ominously, Bouchard said her attitude - which 12 months ago had underdog tones - was about defying on-court hardship.

"I think I just have that inner belief," Bouchard said.

"I really have that confidence that even if it's not going well, just like in my previous round [against Caroline Garcia], it was a really tough close set and I got broken a few times.

"I was able to stay calm and I know I have another gear to go to and I still have a good chance if I just keep fighting and keep trying.

"It's helped me win so many matches last year.

"So I truly believe that I always have a chance no matter what. So with the last 12 months, I think I just have more of that."

Maybe Bouchard also believes she can go from good to great. Another three wins in Melbourne, and she will have done exactly that.