Von Deichmann won the event in 2015

The Sunderland Tennis Centre will play host to some of Britain’s best female tennis players this week in the Aegon GB Pro-Series Sunderland.

Qualifying for the 32-place singles draw takes place today, with the final scheduled for Saturday 4 November.

Some players will also compete in a doubles event throughout the week, with crucial ranking points and prize money up for grabs.

The tournament is part of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Circuit, which allows players to build-up their rankings in the hope of breaking through to the elite WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour.

A similar event took place in Sunderland in April 2015 when Irishman Sam Barry won the men’s event and Liechtenstein’s Kathinka von Deichmann claimed the women’s tournament.

This year there will only be a women’s competition but, with a strong line-up already confirmed, tennis fans can still expect to see some high quality matches.

Freya Christie, who was recently called-up to Britain’s Fed Cup squad, will be hoping to get some matches under her belt following a series of injuries this year.

World number 401 Laura-loana Andrei from Romania is expected to be named the top seed when the main draw is made later today, while Greece’s Eleni Kordolaimi, the world number 466, should mount a strong challenge.

Brits Maia Lumsden and Jodie Anna Burrage will also be among the favourites for the title.

Today, Alice Gillan, the top seed in qualifying, will face Aleksandra Pitak for a spot in the main draw, while seven other qualifying matches will also take place.