The 24-year-old saw her rise halted by a spinal stress fracture and then the Covid-19 pandemic.
Katie Boulter says she has already surpassed her expectations by making it to the last 16 of the Viking Open in Nottingham.
The 24-year-old beat world number 52 Marie Bouzkova 6-4 6-3 at her home tournament to continue her road back from a serious back injury.
Boulter had surged into the top 100 before suffering a spinal stress fracture that kept her out of top-level tournament tennis for the best part of a year, with coronavirus then delaying her comeback even further.
After a stop-start 2021, Boulter is happy with her progress.
“I think I have been nursing a little injury right before these tournaments,” she said.
“I had absolutely no expectations going into this week, but I also know the level I have been putting into the practice court day in day out, I have been working super hard.
“I have been putting in the effort and I really feel it will pay off. This week is a start, I have got a long way to go yet but it is a good result today.”
Boulter, born in nearby Leicester considers this her home tournament and would normally stay with her family at this event.
However, the pandemic means she must stay in the bubble and not even leave her hotel.
“Of course it is going to be difficult,” she said. “But I fully understand why the measures are in place, there are bigger things going on in the world right now.
“For me it is pretty hard being back at my home tournament. But it is a privilege to have my parents and grandparents in the stand. So to even have that support means so much to be, and I am super lucky even to have that.
“It just goes to show how far we have gone in the last year, if not longer. It has been a really, really tough time for a lot of people.
“Also my family, I have hardly seen them. I am pretty sure the last time my grandparents watched me live was (at the) Copper Box a couple of years ago (in April 2019).
“So for them it is huge and it is a long time ago, it really makes the difference. I am super lucky to have them here by my side to help me win matches.”