Italian Shock: Former Top-100 Player Marco Cecchinato Banned For Match-Fixing - UBITENNIS
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Italian Shock: Former Top-100 Player Marco Cecchinato Banned For Match-Fixing

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Marco Cecchinato in action during the 2016 Monte Carlo Masters (source: zimbio.com)

Marco Cecchinato has been found guilty of match-fixing and banned from tennis for 18 months following an investigation conducted by the Italian Tennis Federation.

 

The 23-year-old player has been accused of manipulating the outcome of matches. Suspicions arose following his straight sets loss to Polish qualifier Kamil Majchrzak in the quarter-finals of a Moroccan Challenger tournament on October 8th, 2015. The investigation found that he along with another player, Riccardo Accardi, made money on the game after Cecchinato deliberately changed the outcome. Accardi also received a 12-month suspension.

Cecchinato was accused of a total of five offences deemed as ‘illegal behaviour’. During the 2015 French Open, he reportedly gave insider information about the condition of Andreas Seppi the night before his clash with John Isner. The information was given to Accardi Riccardo, an Italian bettor. Cecchinato has denied any wrongdoing and has argued that the condition of Seppi was already publicly known.

Cecchinato’s five offences

  1. Have altered the outcome of the match against Majchrzak in order to obtain illegal gains (for himself and Richard Accardi).
  2. Have wagered through accounts linked to Accardi.
  3. Have altered the outcome of the doubles play in Prostejov June 2, 2015, in which he teamed with Luca Vanni against Sergey Betov and Mikhail Elgin.
  4. Have given Accardi Riccardo confidential information on the conditions of Andreas Seppi on the eve of the match against John Isner at Roland Garros 2015.
  5. Having benefited from privileged information on the match between Lorenzo Frigerio and Daniel Cox.
    Source: tennisbest.com

The Luca Vanni connection

Luca Vanni (image via tenniscircus.com)

Another high profile player involved in the investigation is Luca Vanni, a player known best for reaching the final of the 2015 Brasil Open. Officials discovered that Accardi made a high amount of money on a doubles match involving Cecchinato and Vanni at the Challenger tournament in Prostejov (2015), where they lost in the first round. The discovery was made after officials browsed Accardi’s WhatsApp messages.

Vanni was found guilty of committing an illegal offence, however, he settled the case with an undisclosed sentence. Vanni’s doubles match was one of five suspicious ones identified.

Why is this so significant?

The downfall of Cecchinato is a tragic one for Italian tennis. Last year the 23-year-old achieved a ranking best of 82nd in the world and made his grand slam debut at the 2015 US Open. Earlier this year, he recorded his first wins on the ATP Tour by reaching the quarter-finals of the Bucharest Open. He currently has a main draw win-loss record of the tour of 179-117 and has won two Challenger titles (both in Italy).

What Next?

As to every penalty handed out in common law, Cecchinato has the right to appeal his sentence, which also include a fine of 40,000 euros (almost a quarter of what he has earned on the tour this season). There is yet to be any comment from the player regarding his suspension and fine.

A comprehensive report into the Cecchinato’s case can be read here.

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Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final

The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.

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Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

 

The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.

” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”

Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.

That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.

The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.

When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.

” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “

Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.

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Petra Kvitova lifts her second Doha title

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Petra Kvitova claimed her 28th career title with a 6-2 6-1 win over Garbine Muguruza in a re-match of the 2018 final at the Doha Total Qatar Open. 

 

Kvitova beat Muguruza for the fifth consecutive time to improve her career finals record to 28-10. The two-time Wimbledon champion had lost to Aryna Sabalenka in last year’s Doha final. 

In 2018 Kvitova needed two hours and 16 minutes to beat Muguruza 3-6 6-3 6-4 to lift her maiden Doha final. 

Muguruza hit a forehand winner to save a break point and held serve to draw level to 2-2 after four games. 

The Spanish player missed a backhand down the line to face a break point. Kvitova earned her first break to open up a 4-2 lead and consolidated the break at 15.The Czech player hit a forehand return crosscourt to win her fourth consecutive game with her second break in the eighth game. 

Muguruza started the second set with an early break in the first game. Kvitova broke straight back in the second game after Muguruza made a double fault. Muguruza was not able to convert two break points in the third game. 

Kvitova broke for the fourth time in a row as Muguruza sailed a shot behind the baseline. Kvitova won her fourth consecutive game to open up a 4-1 lead with a hold at 30. 

The Czech player hit a forehand winner to earn her fifth consecutive break to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the second Doha in her her career on her third championship point after 66 minutes. 

Kvitova reeled off five consecutive games with two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. Kvitova hit 11 winners to 18 unforced errors. 

Kvitova had not won a tournament since Stuttgart 2019 and had lost three of her last four finals, including in Doha to Aryna Sabalenka in 2020. Muguruza is still seeking her first title since Monterrey 2019. The last time she won a 500 level title dates back to Cincinnati 2017. 

“It’s been a great run for sure, but conditions even in today’s match. Well done Garbine for the great week. I am sorry for the second time, but I hope we can meet in another final somewhere else as well. It’s been great the whole week. I am still trying to find the answer for Doha success. I just feel like home a little bit. I love the court. I love everything. The people are very friendly to us as well. The court just suits me”, said Kvitova. 

Muguruza received a walkover into the final when her semifinal opponent Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the match due to a backk injury. 

“I mean it is difficult. Every day is a new match. Petra played very good today with all the conditions she took for the second time a title away from me so congratulations to Petra”, said Muguruza.

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Losing Just As Important As Winning For Jannik Sinner And His 20-Year Goal

The 19-year-old rising star speaks out about his success in the sport at a young age and how he is coping with the pressure.

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The sudden surge in fame is something that has done little to deter Jannik Sinner who has already outlined a goal to play in the sport for another 20 years.

 

At the age of 19 the Italian is the youngest player currently ranked in the world’s top 100 on the ATP Tour. Despite his young age Sinner has already impressed many with a series of milestones. During his breakout season last year he became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on their debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005. A couple months later he won his maiden title at the Sofia Open to become the youngest to do so on the ATP Tour since Kei Nishikori at the 2008 Delray Beach Open.

To put into context Sinner’s rapid rise in the sport, he didn’t crack the top 100 until October 2019. Amid the success comes high expectation from those cheering him on. In his home country of Italy many are hoping that he will be the player to end the drought in men’s Grand Slam winners. The last was Adriano Panatta at the 1976 French Open.

Although it hasn’t entirely been plain-sailing for Sinner who has lost in the first round of his two most recent tournaments. The toughest for him was at the Australian Open which he lost in five sets to Denis Shapovalov.

“I’m 19 years old, it’s a long road and the biggest pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. Before you can win these big tournaments, you have to lose big games,” Sinner said during an interview with L’Equipe.
“It hurts, but it makes you grow. Like my defeat against Shapovalov in the first round of the Australian Open. I had a hard time taking it, I talked a lot with my team. Our job is to win but, I’ll say it again, it’s also important to lose when you’re young.”

Coached on the Tour by Riccardo Piatti, Sinner sees his development on the Tour as a work in progress as he looks to the positive side of losing matches. Explaining that he learns more about his tennis when losing than winning sometimes.

“My trajectory has been fast, but I’m looking ahead. The next three years are crucial for me. I have to work, lose matches, understand why I lost and play as many matches as possible to improve. When I have 200 ATP matches on the scoreboard, I will start to get to know myself better,” he said.

Sinner was born on Roger Federer’s 20th birthday in 2001. Like the Swiss Maestro he hopes to have a long career on the Tour as he sets sights on playing until his late thirties. Something that has become more of a regular occurrence in recent years.

“I need two or three years to better understand things on and off the court. I want to stay relaxed, because my goal is to play for another 20 years. Yes, I turned pro at 18, so I want to play until I’m 38!”

Although it is another member of the Big Three who has given him one of the most memorable moments of his young career so far.

“The match against Nadal at Roland Garros last year was very important for me. And my training with him before the Melbourne Open was even more important than playing in Melbourne,” he said.
“ At 19 years old, training for a fortnight with a player who won 20 Grand Slams was the best thing that could have happened to me. Not only for my career, but also as a life experience. I will never forget it.”

Sinner will return to action next week at the Open 13 in France where he is the fifth seed. In the first round he will play Grégoire Barrère.

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