7 of 16 first round main draw singles matches were played yesterday at the ITF Pro Circuit/USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series $25,000 Winston-Salem Futures.
4 of the 14 competitors playing had come through qualifying to get in the main draw: Daniel Manlow (GBR), Emil Reinberg (USA), Aron Hiltzik (USA), and Austin Smith (USA). That means they already played and won matches Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – in 90+ degree temperatures – just to get into the main draw.
For winning 3 matches, the 8 qualifiers earned a minimum of $260 (first round main draw losers prize money) and accumulated at least 5 days worth of expenses.
In today’s first round, 2 of the 4 qualifiers won their matches: Reinberg and Hiltzik. This brought their prize money up to at least $430.
Of course, as valuable to Reinberg and Hiltzik as the prize money is the real prize: ATP RANKING POINTS. By winning 4 matches, they both earned 1 ranking point.
Sadly, despite winning 3 qualifying matches, Manlow and Smith both earned 0 ranking points.
There is also the “luck of the draw” lurking in all of this. Austin Smith drew the #4 seed and world #334 Michael Mmoh in the first round (and battled him to a 5-7, 6-4, 5-7 score line), while Hiltzik drew world #781 Mico Santiago.
And let’s not forget about the “lucky loser.” Nathan Ponwith got up early to sign in after losing in the final round of qualifying to Aron Hiltzik. He made the main draw when Aleksandar Vukic withdrew and plays #7 seed Alex Kuznetsov Wednesday.
In the second set of first round singles matches to be played Wednesday, the other 4 qualifiers will play. Zeke Clark drew the #3 seed Tennys Sandgren. Korey Lovett will play recent Wake Forest graduate and wild card Jon Ho. And the other two qualifers drew each other: Dominik Koepfer and Rhyne Williams. So, at least 3 of the 8 qualifiers will play in round 2 of the tournament and get their slightly bigger paycheck and their ranking point payoff.