Sport Tennis Match-fixing allegations rock French Open

Match-fixing allegations rock French Open

Yana Sizikova is helping the gendarmes with their enquiries after the massive betting plunge. Photo: Flickr
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Russian player Yana Sizikova has been released from custody after being arrested at the French Open over match-fixing allegations.

A police source and the French tennis federation (FFT) said the player had been arrested but did not elaborate on the reasons.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter, however, told Reuters the arrest was related to match-fixing allegations.

Sizikova had partnered with Ekaterina Alexandrova on Thursday in a women’s doubles match, losing to Australian pair Ajla Tomljanovic and Storm Sanders, 6-1 6-1.

Le Parisien said that Sizikova was arrested later that day. The newspaper said authorities searched Sizikova’s hotel room.

Despire Sizikova’s release on Friday, the investigation is continuing.

“Yana Sizikova is shocked and rejects charges of crimes she has never committed… these accusations harm her reputation,” her lawyer Frederic Belo told the Tass news agency, adding that she intends to file a complaint for libel.

Mr Belo said he was not sure if Ms Sizikova would be allowed to leave France, explaining that she was “accused of sporting corruption, which is punishable by five years in prison and a 500,000 euro ($608,000; £430,000) fine.

Last September, French prosecutors opened an investigation into alleged match fixing in a women’s doubles match at the French Open.

The investigation into “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption” was related to a doubles match between Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari and Sizikova and American Madison Brengle.

Suspicious betting patterns

German newspaper Die Welt and French sports daily L’Equipe said at the time there were suspicious betting patterns in the first round of a women’s doubles match on September 30.

On that day, Sizikova was broken to love serving in game five of the second set, during which she double faulted twice.

It was reported that tens of thousands of euros were bet with several operators in different countries on the Romanian players winning this game.

Shamil Tarpischev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation, told the RIA news agency that he had been informed of Sizikova’s detention. TASS news agency also reported that the Russian embassy in Paris had been informed of the situation.

“We have not received any documents (regarding the case), so it’s difficult to make an assessment of what has happened,” Tarpischev was quoted as saying.

The Russian Tennis Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency, which deals with corruption in the sport, said it would not comment.

The scandal erupted as the grand slam tournament suffered the loss of third seed Aryna Sabalenka, who has crashed out in a 4-6 6-2 0-6 third-round loss to 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, leaving the women’s draw without its top three seeds.

After the exits of Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka, the Belarusian was the highest seed remaining in Paris but she failed to keep a leash on her unforced errors to lose to the experienced 29-year-old Russian.

-with AAP