Russian Tennis Chief Dismisses Latest Match-Fixing Probe By Claiming It Doesn’t Happen - UBITENNIS
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Russian Tennis Chief Dismisses Latest Match-Fixing Probe By Claiming It Doesn’t Happen

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Vitalia Diatchenko in action at the US Open (image via zimbio.com)

Match-fixing is an issue that only occurs in lower level tournaments according to the head of Russian tennis Shamil Tarpischev.

 

The comments come as Russian player Vitalia Diatchenko came under investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The world No.677, who has been blighted by injury in recent months, lost 6-1, 6-1, in the first round of the US Open to Timea Bacsinszky. The match was flagged up after suspicious betting patterns were detected, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the players are guilty of corruption.

“There are many reasons other than corrupt activity that can explain unusual betting patterns.” The TIU said in a statement.

According to the New York Times, the ‘match alert’ was sent to the TIU by Russian bookmaker Fonbet. Bet365 also suspended betting on two games during the encounter and reduced the value of the wagers placed on the match.

“As with all cases, the TIU will assess, make a judgment and take appropriate action on the alert information received and obtained for the first round singles match between Vitalia Diatchenko and Timea Bacsinszky,” said the TIU.

In wake of the latest allegations, the head of Russian tennis jumped to the defence of Diatchenko and has hit out at the New York Times report, saying that people should not be ‘paying attention to a tabloid’.

“Diatchenko is a good tennis player, talented, Unfortunately she has had a lot of injuries. It makes it difficult for her, but she can play very well.” He said in an interview with Tass News.
“As for the match, the defeat was quite predictable I do not see any scandal, it is not necessary to pay attention to a tabloid.”

Former top 100 player Diatchenko has also played down the suspicions during an interview with the New York Times, saying that she was ‘surprised’ that people was placing money on her.

Tarpischev’s understandable defence of his player was nothing unexpected, but it was his later comments that stirred controversy. At the start of the year a joint an investigation conducted by the BBC and Buzzfeed News uncovered evidence that the TIU failed to address numerous cases of match-fixing in recent years. The investigation also claimed that eight of the identified match-fixers from their report participated in the first grand slam of this year. Despite the damning investigation, Tarpischev has insisted that there is no culture of match-fixing on the pro tour.

“The problem of match-fixing in tennis, if there is, it is only at the lower levels.” He said. “In the elite level, What’s the point? It will sooner or later will be revealed.”

It is the second time this year that a grand slam match has come under scrutiny by the TIU. The first was a mixed doubles encounter at the Australian Open where Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot defeated Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero 6-0, 6-3, in the first round. All four of those players have since been cleared of wrongdoing.

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Roberto Bautista Agut overcomes Dominik Koepfer in three sets in Hamburg

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Nine-time ATP Tour champion Roberto Bautista Agut came back from a break down in the third set to beat last week’s Rome quarter finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes at the European Open in Hamburg. The nine-time ATP Tour winner converted on 7 of his 17 break points.  

 

Koepfer, who was the only player to win a set against Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, got an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take the first set 6-3. 

Koepfer earned an early break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set. Five consecutive breaks followed, before Koepfer sealed the second set with an unreturned serve after saving two break points in the 10th game. 

Koepfer came back from 0-2 down in the third set by winning three consecutive games to take a break lead at 3-2. Bautista Agut won four consective games with a double break in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set at 6-3. 

Bautista Agut set up a quarter final against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev, who overcame Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Spaniard leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniel Evans to reach the second round in Hamburg

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes to set up a second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. 

 

Tsitsipas forced a forehand error from Evans to get a break for 3-1 and sealed the first set at love with a forehand volley winner. 

The Greek player broke serve in the third game of the second set with a forehand return and a a foehand approach. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the second set 6-1. 

Tsitsipas hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of his points at the net. 

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I have missed playing on clay. It helps for my confidence. I have watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I am delighted to have gotten off to a strong start”, said Tsitsipas. 

Chile’s Christian Garin beat German wild card Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to become the first player to reach the quarter final in Hamburg. Garin broke twice in a row in the sixth and eighth to win the first set 6-2. 

The South American player went up a break at deuce to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Yanfmann converted his third break-back point in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The German player earned another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Garin broke straight back sending the second set to the tie-break. Hanfmann took a 3-1 lead, but Garin reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Benoit Paire withdrew from his first round match against Casper Ruud as he was a set and a break down at 4-6 0-2. The Frenchman revealed after the match that he has tested positive for the coronavirus twice since arriving at the tournament. Paire claimed that he had been told the rule in Germany is different to that in Paris, where positive players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying round due to covid-19. 

“The only negative test was yesterday but I was positive in two consecutive tests. The ATP has to explain to me what the rule is. In Paris some are negative, but because the coach is positive they can’t play. Here in Germany you are positive and can play”, said Paire.  

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