Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Daniele Bracciali Banned For Life, Starace Suspended For Match-Fixing - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Daniele Bracciali Banned For Life, Starace Suspended For Match-Fixing

The Italian duo are known best for reaching the semi-finals of the 2012 French Open in the men’s doubles.

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The Tennis Integrity Unit has slammed Italy’s Daniele Bracciali with a lifetime ban for match-fixing in a case that has marred the sport in recent years.

Bracciali, who is a former top 50 player, has been found guilty of match-fixing and corruption offences during the 2011 Barcelona Open. An ATP 500 event. An investigation by the TIU also found the Italian guilty of ‘facilitating betting’ during that tournament. As well as the ban, which prohibits Bracciali from attending or playing in any event organised by the governing bodies of the sport, he has been fined $250,000. A hearing took place in London between September 18-19.

“The finding of guilt and imposition of the lifetime suspension means that with immediate effect Bracciali is prohibited from playing in or attending any sanctioned events organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport,” a statement from the TIU reads.

The 40-year-old had been ranked as high at 49th in the world during 2006. The same year when he won his first and only ATP title at the Grand Prix Hassan II. He also won six titles on the doubles circuit with the most recent occurring at the Swiss Open in July.

In a separate ruling, Potito Starace has been issued with a 10-year ban for a similar offence. Starace is the former doubles partner of Bracciali and reached four tour finals in the singles. At his highest, he reached 40th in the doubles rankings and 27th in the singles. Together, the two players were semi-finalists at the 2012 French Open.

Starace, who is now retired, has been fined $10,000. His offences are also related to the 2011 Barcelona Open.

A second lifetime ban

Bracciali and Starace have been linked to alleged match-fixing for years. During 2005 they were fined £35,700 between them and banned for a combined total of four-and-a-half months for making bets on tennis.

Eight years later they were suspended in 2015 for 40 days as part of a wider investigation into match-fixing in their home country. In August that year they were banned for life by the Italian Tennis Federation. However, due to the complexity of the legal case and issues concerning the reliability of the evidence brought against them. Starace’s ban was dropped and Bracciali had his reduced to one year following an appeal.

The legal proceedings started in 2015 was conducted based on intercepted phone and internet conversations. It was alleged that Bracciali discussed making €50,000 through deliberately losing sets and Starace accepted illicit payments for losing to Pablo Andujar in Casablanca.

Ironically, their sentences from the TIU is focused specifically on their activities during the 2011 Barcelona Open and not the information gathered by Italian prosecutors over recent years.

Both players have the right to appeal.

ATP

Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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