Disturbing footage emerges amid French Open match-fixing furore

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·Sports Reporter
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Yana Sizikova, pictured on the bottom left, gave up a love service break which attracted the attention of French prosecutors.
Yana Sizikova's service game in a first-round doubles match at the French Open has attracted scrutiny from French prosecutors suspicious of match-fixing. Picture: Eurosport

Footage has emerged of the French Open match that has attracted a match-fixing investigation by French prosecutors.

The first round doubles match between Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig, and rival pair Russia's Yana Sizikova and US playing partner Madison Brengle, attracted scrutiny after several large bets were placed on a service break in the fifth game of the second set.

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With Sizokova serving, the Russian served three double faults and stumbled on a volley return, handing her opponents a love game.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported that large sums of money were bet on the Romanians winning that game and that the wagers were placed in several countries

Mitu and Maria Tig went on to win the match 7-6, 6-4.

Director general of French tennis Jean-François Vilotte would not confirm which match was under investigation but was upbeat about the ongoing procedures.

"It means that these warning systems are working. It's good that everyone is doing their part in the exchange of information.

"You have to be vigilant, process the information, monitor and cooperate. That's what is at work there. So we can only congratulate ourselves that these international cooperation mechanisms are working," he said Tuesday.

"In this case, we had an observer at the match. He is in the process of sharing information with the investigation services."

Prosecutors investigating French Open ‘organised fraud’

Prosecutors said they were probing alleged "fraud in an organised group" and "active and passive corruption in sport".

A source within the investigation said the bets placed on the match were "abnormally large" and amounted to "tens of thousands of euros".

The source within the ANJ said the authority had not detected any anomalies in the French gambling market.

"They must have been afraid to bet in France. They tried to spread the bets around other markets but the betting industry bodies know how to do their sums," the source said.

Yana Sizikova is pictured stumbling during the service game that attracted the attention of French prosecutors.
Yana Sizikova's service game in the second set of the first round of the women's doubles at the French Open has attracted scrutiny after a series of suspicious bets were placed on a service break. Picture: Eurosport

The ANJ received information about the suspicious betting activity from private operators and were also alerted by the Global Lottery Monitoring System and by the Council of Europe's Network of National Platforms, which combats manipulation of sports competitions.

The Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport's anti-corruption body, said it would not comment on the investigation "in line with our policy of operational confidentiality".

Tennis has battled match-fixing in the past, but organised groups normally target lower-level tournaments and not Grand Slam events like the French Open.

In January, former top-100 player Joao Souza was banned for life and fined $200,000 for match-fixing and other corruption offences.

With AFP

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