Clijsters' high praise for Barty

Darren Walton
Ashleigh Barty has safely advanced to the Wimbledon third round

Former world No.1 Kim Clijsters has anointed Ashleigh Barty as a Wimbledon dark horse, praising Australia's top title hope for her new-found focus and all-court game.

Barty plays 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard in the marquee second-round match-up of the day at The All England Club.

Clijsters believes 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 grand slam champion 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."

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.

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

"I don't have a crystal ball but she's surrounded by a good group and that's also important; to not get distracted, to balance it all.

"It's so important."

Barty's next opponent is also somewhat in comeback mode, with Bouchard winning four straight matches for the first time in two and a half years to qualify for Wimbledon and then progress to round two.

The Wimbledon junior champions respectively in 2011 and 2012, Barty beat Bouchard in three sets on cement in Miami in their only previous encounter last year.

The winner will play either Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina or Kazakh Yulia Putintseva on Saturday for a spot in the last 16.