World No.84 Nicolas Kicker Found Guilty Of Match-Fixing - UBITENNIS
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World No.84 Nicolas Kicker Found Guilty Of Match-Fixing

The Argentine has been found guilty of ‘contriving the outcome of a match’ on two separate occasions during 2015.

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The Tennis Integrity Unit has found Argentina’s Nicolas Kicker guilty of match-fixing and has suspended him from the tour in what is one of the most high profile anti-corruption cases in recent years.

Kicker, who has won three Challenger titles during his career, has been suspended from all tennis events sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport until further notice. The governing bodies are the ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slam board. In a statement published by the TIU on Thursday evening, the 25-year-old has been found guilty of breaching three rules of the anti-corruption programme. A hearing into the case took place in Miami on March 25th this year, followed by a investigation by the TIU.

“Having been found guilty of all charges, he will be sanctioned at a future date to be determined by Independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Jane Mulcahy,” said a TIU statement.
“Details of the decision on sanctions will be made public when received.”

The penalty issued to the world No.84 is in relation to the 2015 season. During that year he was found to be guilty of ‘contriving the outcome’ of two separate matches. One of those occurred at the Padova Open in Italy, where Kicker lost 6-1, 6-2, to Lee Duck-hee in the first round. The next incident occurred later that year at the Barranquilla Open in Colombia. The Argentine was seeded eighth in the draw, but lost 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, to Giovanni Lapentti.

It was at the Barranquilla Open where questions mounted over the Argentine. Website sportdw.com wrote an article called ‘how to fix a match (by Nicolas Kicker).‘ In the article, it found evidence that there was almost £700,000 matched on Betfair on the match market concerning his first round loss.

“There is virtually no way to explain the movement of the betting odds other than that someone knew the outcome of the match before it happened. An injury might have moved the odds to an extent, but there was no indication of any injury.” Writes Sport DW.

Kicker later withdrew from the doubles draw of the tournament, citing a back injury as the reason.

During the TIU investigation, Kicker has also been found guilty of failing to report a corrupt approach to authorities. As well as refusing to cooperate with the TIU over the allegations made against him.

Kicker had been playing on the tour until this week at the Lyon Open where he lost in the first round. Earlier this year he reached the third round of both the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells. He has a ranking high of 78th, which was achieved in 2017. He is yet to comment about his suspension.

List of rules Kicker has breeched, according to the TIU

Section D.1.d: “No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.”
Section D.2.c:For the avoidance of doubt, (i) a failure of the Reporting Obligation by any Covered Person; and/or (ii) a failure of the duty to co-operate under Section F.2 shall constitute a Corruption Offense for all purposes of the Program.”
Section F.2.b: “All Covered Persons must co-operate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU including giving evidence at hearings, if requested. No Covered Person shall tamper with or destroy any evidence or other information related to any Corruption Offense.”

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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