Marco Cecchinato Acquitted Of Match-Fixing - UBITENNIS
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Marco Cecchinato Acquitted Of Match-Fixing

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Marco Cecchinato in action during the 2016 French Open (zimbio.com)

Former top 100 player Marco Cecchinato has been reinstated to the professional tour after a successful appeal to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

 

The 24-year-old was suspended by the Italian Tennis Federation earlier this year after an investigation alleged that Checchinato was complicit in match-fixing. Prosecutors accused the Italian of fixing the outcome of one of his matches at a Moroccan Challenger tournament on October 8th, 2015. The investigation claimed to have found evidence that the Italian, along with fellow player Riccardo Accardi, placed a bet on the him losing that match. Cecchinato has denied the allegation throughout the investigation.

Originally banned for 18 months, Cecchinato had his penalty reduced to 12 months in October after an independent tribunal ruled that he did not intentionally plan to fix a match. The tribunal accepted that the world No.188 never told Accardi that he was going to fix his match, but just notified him that he was feeling unwell. Furthermore, his revelations of compatriot Andreas Seppi having ‘physical issues’ prior to his match against John Isner at the 2015 French Open weren’t illegal because they was already reported in newspapers.

Following on from the reduction in his sentence, Cecchinato’s ban has been fully overturned. The appeal committee at the CONI concluded that there was ‘irregularities’ regarding how the evidence was gathered during the match-fixing investigation, ruling that the ban was not valid. He has also been exempt from paying his $20,000 fine.

Peaking at a career high of 82nd in October 2015, Cecchinato has won two Challenger titles in his career. His most recent triumph occurred in June at the Milan Open where he defeated Laslo Djere in the final. Outside of the Challenger events, he reached the quarter-final at this year’s Bucharest Open, an ATP 250 event.

Free to return to the tour, Cecchinato will start his 2017 season at the Doha Open where he will play in the qualifying draw.

Throughout 2016 tennis has been marred by match-fixing allegations. Earlier this year the Independent Review Panel was created to evaluate the integrity of tennis following allegations of widespread corruption by a joint report published by Buzzfeed News and the BBC. More recently, 34 people, including six unnamed tennis players on the Futures tour, were arrested in connection with a suspected match-fixing ring in Spain and Portugal.

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Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas advance to the semifinal in Hamburg

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Fifth seed and 2019 Hamburg finalist Andrey Rublev hit 30 winners in his 6-2 7-5 win over Roberto Bautista Agut in 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the semifinal at the European Open in Hamburg at the renovated Am Rothenbaum venue. 

 

Rublev earned an early break in the opening game, as Bautista Agut missed a backhand down the line. Rublev went up a double break to take a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner. Bautista Agut pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Rublev broke for the third time in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the first set in the eighth game with a backhand volley after 34 minutes. 

Rublev went up a break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game and held serve at love to take a 4-2 lead. Bautista Agut broke back for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Rublev broke Bautista Agut at 5-5 30-40 with two forehands at the net and sealed the win in the 12th game, when Bautista Agut hit a backhand return into the net. 

Rublev will face either Ugo Humbert or Casper Ruud in the semifinal.  

“Roberto is one of the most consistent players on Tour. It’s really tough to beat him. You need to play at an amazing level and be really fit. He never gives you an easy match. I am really pleased as I played well, even in the first set, in the spite of the score. There were long games and I am happy to get through the second set”, said Rublev. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from 3-5 in the tie-break of the tie-break in his 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 over Dusan Lajovic in 1 hour and 38 minutes to reach the semifinal. 

In the opening set Tsitsipas saved a break point in the fifth game and two more chances in the seventh game. The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Tsitsipas rallied from 3-5 down in the tie-break by winning four consecutive points to take a 7-5 lead after 57 minutes. 

The second set started with three straight breaks. Tsitsipas opened up a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner. The Greek player broke twice in a row to open up a 5-1 lead. Tsitsipas missed out on two match points on Lajovic’s serve at 5-1 and Lajovic held serve after three deuces. Tsitsipas closed out on his third match point to clinch his 21st win in 29 matches this year. 

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Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”

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The American journalist joined UbiTennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta to comment on the draw of the Parisian Slam. Is Nadal still the favourite? Halep is the one to beat in the women’s draw, while nobody had it worse than Thiem.

 

Even though the US Open is barely over, another Major, the Roland Garros, is fast approaching. Along with it, Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink’s recap videos are coming back as well, starting with the draw of the tournament, which will be played for the first time between September and October. Here’s the video:

00:00 – The men’s draw. Scanagatta: “We have two bonafide blockbusters in the first round, i.e. Murray vs Wawrinka and Thiem vs Cilic”. Who got the easier path, Djokovic or Nadal?

02:10 – “Zverev is a very good clay-courter, I’d like to see him face Nadal in the quarter finals…”

04:40 – Thiem got by far the hardest draw – will he be able to survive meetings with Cilic and Ruud before facing one between Murray, Wawrinka and Auger Aliassime before potentially squaring off with Schwartzman and Nadal? “Let’s not forget that he hasn’t played on clay yet…”

07:35 – “Nadal played well below his usual level against Schwartzman in Rome, he’ll have to find his rhythm in the opening rounds.” Is there anyone that could challenge him early on?

08:40 – What about Djokovic – who could be a foil for the Serbian’s ambitions?

18:30 – The underdogs: “I don’t see Medvedev going far, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fucsovics beat him.”

20:00 – The daily capacity was slashed from 11,500 people to 5,000, and now to 1,000 – how will the event look like?

23:15 – Murray vs Wawrinka: “I feel like the Brit has a slight edge, but it’s going to be a battle.”

25:45 – Thiem vs Cilic – can the Croat summon his 2014 self? “Perhaps on fast surfaces, not so much on clay…”

26:45 – Goffin vs Sinner: “The Italian ran out of gas against Dimitrov, but Goffin’s performance in Rome was even worse. We know that Sinner already has several Top 10 wins…” How will the Americans and Aussies fare?

31:35 – The women’s draw. “It feels a bit like the US Open, so many withdrawals!” Osaka, Andreescu and Barty are out, so who can beat Simona Halep?

33:10 – “The Romanian won in Prague and in Rome, while the second seed, Pliskova, retired against her in the Italian final, so we shall have to wait to ascertain her fitness level.” Was skipping hardcourts a wise choice on Halep’s part?

34:55 – Could Serena make a run for it?

36:40 – The top half of the draw seems to be more competitive, thanks to the presence, besides Halep’s, of Bertens, Voundrosova, Svitolina, and Mertens. Who will come out of the bottom half? Kvitova’s struggles on the surface.

41:15 – Are we in for a Williams-Azarenka rematch? There are many Americans – what are their chances?

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Elina Svitolina reaches her first semifinal in six months in Strasbourg

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Number 2 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Elina Svitolina secured her spot in her first semifinal in six months at the Internationaux in Strasbourg with a 6-4 6-3 win over two-time WTA title winner Jil Teichmann after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Svitolina came back from a break down in each set.

 

Teichmann earned an early break in the opening game of the match. The Swiss player was not able to convert tw points for 4-2 in the first set and dropped her serve. Teichmann did not convert two game points in the eighth game and Svitolina broke back to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina did not convert two break points in the eighth game, but she broke serve on her first set point. 

Svitolina won eight of the first 10 points of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Teichmann reeled off three consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 3-2 lead. Teichmann did not convert another break point at 3-3 after three deuces. Svitolina converted her fourth break point in a four deuce game in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

“I was fighting to stay in and to get the win, and I think I got rewarded. That was really good today, because I don’t let the bad games change my mindset”, said Svitolina. 

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