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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Jannik Sinner reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career

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Eleventh-seed Jannik Sinner cruised past Steve Johnson 6-2 6-4 6-3 on Margaret Arena after 1 hour and 43 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his third appearance of his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Sinner fired 29 winners and broke five times. 

 

“It’s a real pleasure to play here. I played on this pitch against Shapovalov in the first round last year. I love playing in Australia, so having a night game is very special”, said Sinner. 

Sinner raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break and closed it out on his first set point after 26 minutes. The 20-year-old Italian star earned a decisive break in the ninth game to seal the 41-minute second set 6-4. 

Sinner broke serve in the first game of the third set to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 11 faced a break point in the fourth game to hold serve after three deuces. The Italian star held serve at love in the eighth game, when Johnson hit a backhand return into the net. The Italian star closed out the third set with his second break, when Sousa hit his forehand into net. 

“I started the match very well, which gave me a lot of confidence. When I had to break in every set, I was quite relaxed. I tried to stay focused on my service games which I think I have done. I am very happy to be through in three sets. It was not easy to play against him. We had already played twice, and I tried to return his serves because his first serve is very precise This was my first goal, and obviously trying to mix up a little bit the game, try to move him. I think I was solid. I had a couple of break chances which I used, so I am very happy”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a third round match against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who beat Andy Murray 6-4 6-4 6-4. Daniel has already beat four Italian players this year, but Sinner has not dropped a set in his five matches this year. 

“Taro Daniel has reached the third round because he is playing very well. I did not know that he had already beaten four Italian players this year. It is not easy to beat them. Matches are always tough at any level. Daniel beat Murray and it is not easy to win against the Scotsman. I lost against Murray last year in Stockolm”, said Sinner. 

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament

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Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Andrey Rublev eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Rublev earned breaks in the opening game of each set and did not face any break points.

Rublev set up a third round match against Marin Cilic, who beat Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6). If Rublev beats Cilic, he could be on a collision course for a possible quarter final clash against his compatriot Danil Medvedev.

Rublev, who reached the quarter finals at Grand Slam level four times in his career, is aiming to reach his first semifinal in a Major tournament. 

Taylor Fritz beat Francis Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in an all-American clash to set up a third round clash against Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised through Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-0 6-3. Fritz hit a backhand winner down the line to convert his match point. 

“Frances is one of my really good friends, and he is such a good guy. I said before the tournament too. He is probably one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. I just keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point. I have a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here”, said Fritz. 

Alex De Minaur beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2. The Australian player has now won six consecutive sets at the Australian Open this year after dropping the first set against Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round. De Minaur will take on Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who beat Slovakian wild card Alex Molcan 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-1. 

“For me to be able to play on Rod Laver Arena and at this stage on my merits, it’s not because I am playing one of the top guys, that’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a very solid win. I did everything I neeeded to do. I got the job done. I am very happy with my effort”, said De Minaur. 

Daniel Evans received a walkover into the third round when Arthur Rinderknech withdrew before the match with a wrist injury. 

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