Australian Open success means Johanna Konta will be hunted - Barker

Johanna Konta's serve is now one of her main weapons, says Sue Barker. Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Johanna Konta may have made history by reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals but will now have a target on her back, according to Sue Barker.

Australian-born Konta became the first British female to reach the last eight of a major since Jo Durie in 1984 with victory over Ekaterina Makarova on Monday, setting up a semifinal against Zhang Shuai.

With Andy Murray taking on David Ferrer on Wednesday, it is the first time since 1977 that Britain has had players in both the men's and women's quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.

It was in Melbourne 38 years ago that John Lloyd and Robin Drysdale both reached the last eight in the men's draw, while Barker made the same stage of the women's tournament.

"There has been a void in British women's tennis for so long but now Johanna Konta has filled it," 1976 French Open winner Barker told The Times.

"I feel sorry for her having so many records thrown at her and it's upsetting that it has taken so long to break the ones that were set in my era. Most other countries would be upset if they didn't have a woman in a quarterfinal for a couple of years.

"What has impressed me so much is how competitive she is when it matters. You can train and improve most aspects of your game but having the ability to play the big points well is something you cannot teach.

"A year ago, Konta lost a lot of three-set matches. Now, she has proved to herself that she can win them. She keeps calm in pressure situations and that speaks volumes.

"Against Ekaterina Makarova, she served for the match and lost the game, but had the mental strength to come through and win. Now I expect her to reach the semifinals.

"Konta has a strong serve, particularly her second. You can't get by with a weak one and she puts plenty of spin and power on hers. Her forehand has always been a weapon and her backhand has now reached the same level. She disguises it well.

"Her movement and fitness are impressive too and she makes her opponents work for every point. There are no real weaknesses. I'm also impressed by the lack of emotion she shows on court -- nothing seems to faze her.

"Now, though, opposition coaches will be looking for weaknesses. The hunter becomes the hunted and she'll have to respond by mixing up the pace more to surprise her opponents."

Konta left Australia for Britain at the age of 14 with her parents and moved around various tennis academies before the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) gave her funding.

Enjoying little notable success, she told ESPN that she "lost her way for a while" in tennis -- to the point where she thought about quitting the sport.

That would change after joining up with Spanish coach Esteban Carel and sports psychologist Juan Coto, who both took a voluntary pay cut when Konta's funding was trimmed by the LTA in 2015.

It was soon after that Konta started her remarkable rise. She was world No.151 when she won a small event in Jackson, Mississipi last April, before finding herself moving inside the top 50 when she unexpectedly reached the U.S. Open fourth round in the summer after coming through qualifying.

She is now projected to rise to world No.32, having already ensured she will bank at least £195,000 in prize money from her time in Melbourne.

"At 24, she has a huge future. She's already playing at the level of the top 20 or 30. Don't worry if she has a dip or two this year -- that's normal," Barker added.

"Her form should inspire Heather Watson and Laura Robson too. Virginia Wade and I had a rivalry that helped each other. We drove each other on but you want to be No.1, you want that kudos.

"The tournament will feel different now -- it's the top women and her eye-to-eye in the locker room -- but she's favourite to progress and she should have the Australian crowd behind her."