British tennis stars, including Wimbledon semi-finalist, head to Sunderland for world tour event

British number four Harriet Dart will be the highest ranked player in the women's draw at the world tour event in Sunderland.
British number four Harriet Dart will be the highest ranked player in the women's draw at the world tour event in Sunderland.
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Some of Britain's leading tennis stars will head to the North East this week with a world tour event set to take place at the Sunderland Tennis Centre.

A men’s and women’s event will be held between Tuesday April 9 and Sunday April 14, with entry free for spectators.

British number four Harriet Dart, the world number 136, will be top seed in the women’s draw while fellow Brit Liam Broady, who reached the second round of Wimbledon in 2015, will be the highest ranked player in the men’s event.

Dart, who reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year and helped Britain reach a Fed Cup World Group II play-off in February said:“I’m looking forward to playing in Sunderland. I got my first WTA point there when I was 15 so I’m excited to be back there.

"It would be great to have some local fans come along to support”

Dart, 22, will face tough competition though, with France’s Oceane Dodin, a former top 50 player, and Britain’s Naomi Broady also in the draw.

Fellow Brit Laura Robson, a former top 30 player, is also in the draw after coming through qualifying on Monday.

Sunderland’s Jonny Binding was also on the entry list for the men’s event but suffered a tight three-set loss in qualifying.

Binding will feature in the doubles event though, alongside Portugal's Francisco Dias.

The tournaments are part of an LTA scheme to help British players compete on home soil and open up more events for fans around the country.

Julie Piper, the LTA’s tournament director for the event, said: “We’re looking forward to staging another international tennis event at the excellent facilities of Sunderland Tennis Centre as part of the LTA’s work to open up tennis to more people.

“The warm and friendly welcome we receive in the North East always makes this event very popular with the players and officials.

“With free entry for spectators throughout the week, this is a fantastic opportunity for North East locals to see some of the names they recognise from Wimbledon in action.

“Many of the world’s current best players have used these kind of events as the springboard towards reaching the very top, so this is great chance to see some future stars in the making too!”

Matches will take place from 10am – 7pm each day while results and order of play can be found on the ITF website.