AAP Tennis

Barty takes out former Wimbledon finalist

By AAP Newswire

Ashleigh Barty is thrilled to have survived a stern test from former finalist Eugenie Bouchard and safely progress to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time.

Enhancing Kim Clijsters' claim that the Australian No.1 is shaping as a title dark horse, Barty hammered nine aces and recovered from a second-set wobble to score a spirited 6-4 7-5 second-round win on Thursday.

With Daria Gavrilova earlier trumping Fed Cup teammate Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-1, Australia have two women in the last 32 at The All England Club for only the third time in the past decade.

"You always want your countrymen to do well. Success breeds success," Barty said.

"We all try to push each other to do even better."

No one is doing better on grass this year than Barty.

Triumphant in Nottingham a fortnight ago, the 22-year-old has now won 10 of her past 12 matches on her favoured surface and next plays Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina or Kazakh Yulia Putinseva on Saturday for a spot in the second week of a grand slam for the first time.

Former world No.1 Clijsters believes the world No.17 can venture even further than that, saying Barty has the goods to "make it very, very, very hard for a lot of players" left in the draw.

"She's also consistent enough," the four-times major winner told AAP.

"I think the best thing to do for her was to take a break a few years ago because I kind of followed her a bit back then and I just saw mentally how she didn't know what she wanted from tennis.

"Now you see that she's there with her heart and passion and playing well well, working hard and becoming more motivated and confident and it's showing in her results.

"If you see how she's been raising her level, I think she can go even further."

A nominee for the WTA Tour's 2017 comeback of the year award, Barty is seeded at Wimbledon for the first time after gatecrashing the world's top 20.

"Kim's such an amazing woman, a fantastic champion. It's really nice to hear those words," Barty said.

"But for me it's just focusing about my next match."

Bouchard is also somewhat in comeback mode, having won four straight matches for the first time in two and a half years to qualify at SW19 and then progress to round two.

Like Barty, Bouchard is also a former Wimbledon junior champion but it was the Australian who made the first statement with five aces in her opening two service games.

She broke the Canadian in the third game and lost only three points on serve until needing five set points to close out the set in an epic nine-minute game.

Bouchard threatened to force a deciding set after grabbing a 5-3 lead in the second before Barty rallied to win the last four games - and the match - after one hour and 31 minutes.