Putterman ousts seeded opponents to take ITA Central Regional Singles title

| Sports Reporter
Mary Butkus | WUSTL Photo Services

Junior Adam Putterman plays at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. Putterman won the ITA/USTA Central Region Men’s Tennis singles championship this weekend, dropping just one set all tournament.

In a field of 128 players at the ITA Central Regional Championships, No. 9 seed junior Adam Putterman of the Washington University men’s tennis team won seven consecutive matches over four days to take the singles title.

With the victory, Putterman qualifies for the USTA/ITA Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., on Oct. 13-16.

In Monday’s championship match, Putterman disposed of No. 16 C.J. Williams from Kenyon College, 6-4, 6-3. Putterman characterized the match as a battle of nerves.

“I felt pressure because a lot of people came out to watch. I really, really wanted to win,” Putterman said. “[Williams] made a few errors, and I managed to steal the first set. In the second set, I think he was a little nervous because he had lost the first.”

On his road to the finals, Putterman ousted No. 1 seed Paul Burgin from Kenyon College and No. 13 Sam Miles from DePauw University. Putterman cited his composure on the court and recently improved service game as huge factors in his success so far.

“I have been serving really well, and I’ve been playing very mentally tough,” Putterman said. “About three times a week I get on the court before practice and serve buckets for about 45 minutes. I think that’s been the main difference.”

The Bears fared very well in the rest of the singles draw, with freshman Ross Putterman reaching the semifinals, junior Gary Parizher reaching the quarterfinals and junior Bryan Haywood and freshman Kevin Chu reaching the fourth round.

On the doubles side, Chu and sophomore Max Franklin dropped the finals match in a 6-2, 5-7, 10-7 effort. Chu and Franklin defeated teammates Adam and Ross Putterman, 9-7, in the semifinal match.

“Overall, we had a lot of energy, and it was nice to play well,” Franklin said. “I learned a lot from losing last year, and figuring out how to win without necessarily the best-looking strokes, and [Chu] has got all the skills necessary, so everything kind of clicked.”

In preparation for the spring season, head coach Roger Follmer constantly evaluated doubles pairings, as he has always preached that doubles play is crucial to success in the spring. With two doubles teams reaching the semifinals, Follmer was encouraged by the team’s performance.

“Even though we didn’t win the tournament, Franklin and Chu, and the Puttermans, and the rest of the gang, they played some good doubles,” Follmer said. “Last fall we didn’t play good doubles at this tournament, so in the past two, three weeks of preparation, we put more emphasis on doubles, and it showed.”

The fall season is also the team’s first opportunity to establish its new identity. With leaders Isaac Stein and Max Woods graduating last spring, the Bears are left with only one senior, Cameron Chiang, and a relatively young team. Nevertheless, Follmer and the rest of the team are confident that key juniors and sophomores can step into leadership roles.

“There hasn’t been a special meeting or anything like that, but I have pulled a couple of the juniors aside and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be leaders,’” Follmer said. “I expect all the juniors and our lone senior to be leaders, and they’ve done a pretty good job so far.”

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