Chasing (and Catching) Ranking Points on the ITF Pro Circuit

The singles quarterfinals are set at the ITF Pro Circuit Winston-Salem Futures. 5 seeds and 2 qualifiers are among the 8. The two qualifiers are Rhyne Williams, whose career high ATP ranking is 114, and Emil Reinberg, a rising sophomore at the University of Georgia who earned his first ATP ranking points this week.

Each of the quarterfinalists have earned 3 ATP World Tour ranking points, and 5 additional points are on the line for tomorrow’s winners. The finalist will earn 15 points total and the winner takes home 27 points.

ITF Pro Circuit Points

To put those points in context, consider the number of points held by players at different ranking levels:

  • #1 Novak Djokovic: 16,950 points
  • #50 Martin Klizan: 925
  • #100 Sergiy Stakhovsky: 590
  • #250 Joris DeLoore: 270
  • #500 Evgeny Karlovskiy: 71
  • #1000 Pavel Kotov: 12

Depending on the number of tournaments played, 3 ranking points will land you anywhere from #1395 to #1530. 1 ranking point is world ranking #1723.

So, at the high end of the ranking scale, ITF Pro Circuit points don’t count as much as at the lower end of the scale. But winning a futures event can still make a big difference in a professional’s life.

It has been interesting to see these current and aspiring professional tennis players chase — and sometimes catch — valuable ATP World Tour ranking points this week. It’s a lot different than the other two professional events I will string this summer (the ATP 500 event in Washington DC in July and the ATP 250 event in Winston-Salem in August), but no less dramatic.

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The Long, Hard Road of the ITF Pro Circuit Qualifier

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.

ITF Pro Circuit Money Distribution

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.

ITF Pro Circuit Points

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.