Nicolas Kicker Speaks Out For First Time Since Match-Fixing Suspension - UBITENNIS
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Nicolas Kicker Speaks Out For First Time Since Match-Fixing Suspension

The Argentine said he feels ‘incredible relief’ after receiving a cut in his ban and has warned others of the dangers.

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Nicolas Kicker has said that his goal is to break into the world’s top 30 when he resumes his career in 2021 after being suspended from the sport for violating anti-corruption rules.

 

The former world No.78 hasn’t played a competitive match since the 2018 Lyon Open. During the same year the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) found him guilty of breaking three rules of the anti-corruption programme. Including trying to contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any event, as well as failing to fully cooperate with officials. The breeches concerned two matches in Padova, Italy and Barranquilla, Colombia during 2015 on the Challenger tour.

Kicker’s penalty has recently been reduced by four months due to his cooperation with the TIU in their educational program. Including featuring in a video to warn other players about the dangers of match-fixing.

“I feel incredible relief; I was very uncertain because I did not know if the sanction was lowered or not. Now I already have an exact date to aim and I can set goals for myself in the short and long term,” the 27-year-old said in a recent interview with Pagina 12.

Describing the investigation into him as ‘horrible,’ the Argentine has expressed remorse for his actions. At the time of his suspension, Kicker was a consistent top 100 player and had recently reached the third round of the Australian Open in what was his best ever grand slam performance.

“We all make mistakes, some more serious and others not so much. But the most important lesson that all this left me is that you must always go with the truth and take care of those mistakes,” he commented.

In recent years tennis’ governing bodies have cracked down on match-fixing. A report published by the Independent Review Panel (IRP) said there was a ‘tsunami’ of corruption at lower level tournaments, but they found no evidence of a cover up by either the TIU or governing bodies.

Despite the crackdown, Kicker still believes the problem is a ‘very delicate issue.’ Lower ranked players are more at risk of being involved due to the disparity in prize money between the higher and lower ranked players. A gap the world of tennis is trying to bridge.

“First, they (match-fixers) always try to have contact through social networks. You have to be vigilant.” Kicker warns.
“They pose as sponsors, they take you into the conversation and promise you lies. I wish I had the solution to this problem but I think it is a very delicate issue. It is best to be very careful with the people who approach you, both on social networks and personally. And, above all, you have to be clear about your values ​​and not be fooled.”

Now nearing the last six months of his suspension, Kicker has said he is relishing the challenge of returning to the tour once again. He is yet to feature in the final of an ATP tournament. Although he has won three titles on the Challenger Tour.

“I think it will be a beautiful challenge for me; Luckily this time when I was out of the circuit I was able to train every day. I will come back better than before.” He said.
“The goal I have is to get into the top 30 in the world.”

Kicker is eligible to return to competition from January 23rd next year.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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