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.

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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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