Toowoomba QLD, Australia, 16 October 2014 | David Packman

On the comeback trail from a lower back complaint, South Australian Luke Saville heads into his quarterfinal at the 2014 Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba International looking as strong as ever.

Back in July, Saville had been enjoying a run that had taken him from outside the world’s top 400 to a best ever ATP ranking of No.171.

Unfortunately, during a Challenger event in Granby, Canada, a lower back twinge slowly got the better of him, resulting in him withdrawing from his quarterfinal match against fellow Aussie Benjamin Mitchell.

> VIDEO: Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba International daily highlights

The injury put the brakes on a career-best year for Saville, which included a second round appearance at Wimbledon and the last 16 at an ATP 250 event in Newport.

Along the way he claimed numerous higher-ranked scalps including that of Thomaz Bellucci and Dominic Thiem.

Saville agrees it has been very gratifying for him to get some solid results this year and make some in-roads on the ATP World Tour.

“If you told me at the start of the year that I would be at around 180 in the world after Wimbledon I would’ve taken it for sure,” he said.

“It gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve beaten a few players in the top 100 now and I feel like I can really compete with those guys.”

The match that springs to many people’s mind was his first round victory over Thiem at Wimbledon. The young Austrian is a star on the rise and at the time was on the verge of the world’s top 50. For Luke, it was a sweet victory.

“I’d beaten him before in juniors but he’d obviously really kicked on since then. But I still thought I could get past him,” he recalled. On the grass at Wimbledon – his favourite surface – and with his crosscourt backhand working a treat, Saville won in four entertaining sets.

He succumbed to the eleventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the following round, but grew immeasurably from the experience.

“I absolutely loved it out there,” he said at the time. “I can really build on this.”

Fast forward to October, and after spending the last few months in rehabilitation, Luke says the back is feeling good.

“Thanks to the efforts of my team, I’ve been able to able to recover from the injury really well.”

In some respects, he even sees it as a potential blessing in disguise.

“I always try to look at the positives. I was able to take some time away and now I can really focus on the rest of the year,” he said.

“I also learned a bit about myself too. I understand a lot more about core strength and other stuff that will help keep me in the best possible shape moving forward.”

Saville says the injury almost works in his favour in terms of his schedule.

“I can work my way into some match fitness here in Toowomba, then play the Challengers in Traralgon where I’m close to [my base in] Melbourne.”

Of course, Toowoomba marks his first tournament back on court, and so far he has looked the goods, taking out Jake Eames and Steven de Waard in straight sets.

“I feel like I’m playing OK. It’s great to just get a few matches under the belt,” Saville said.

He now meets Greg Jones in a quarterfinal, a man also on the way back from an injury layoff.

“He got me last time we met,” says Saville. “But that was quite a few years back.

“I’ll just be out there giving it my best.”

Saville would clearly love to use Toowomba as his springboard; continuing the momentum he’s gained here to finish 2014 the way it began.

He was quick to point out that as well as his own success this year, a number of young Australians are also really starting to make their mark.

Among others, he mentions Omar Jasika, now a junior Grand Slam winner like himself, and a finalist in Cairns last week.

“I’m still only 20 but I hope some of the younger Aussies can already benefit from my experience,” Luke said.

“I feel like my professionalism is one of my best assets.”

As far as 2015, Saville says he hopes to continue his rapid improvement.

“I’ll still play Challengers next year, but look to hopefully add some more ATP events as well,” he said.

Saville takes on compatriot Greg Jones in the quarterfinal of the 2014 Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba International on Thursday.