THE French Open has been caught up in a match-fixing storm.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into a first-round women’s doubles match at Roland Garros.
The French Open has been embroiled in a match fixing stormCredit: AFP or licensors
The Paris prosecutors’ office said the probe into “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption” related to the tie involving Romanians Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig against Russian Yana Sizikova and American Madison Brengle.
The Romanians won the match 7-6 6-4 on September 30 before being knocked out in the third round.
It is claimed the match was flagged by bookmakers for unusual betting activity, with hundreds of thousands of euros in bets placed on the second set.
Attention has been drawn to the fifth game, when Sizikova had her serve broken after double-faulting on two occasions.
The investigation, launched on October 1, is being handled by the French police’s Central Service of Races and Games.
French Open bosses and the Tennis Integrity Unit declined to comment when contacted by SunSport.
And Aleksei Selivanenko, vice-president of the Russian tennis federation, said: “As long as there are no official documents, it’s too early to comment on anything. Tennis has a zero-tolerance policy for cases of this kind.”
Anybody found guilty of match-fixing or corruption could receive lifetime bans.
The long shutdown in global sport because of the Covid-19 pandemic meant players were unable to earn money for several months.
It was feared this prolonged absence might potentially heighten the risk of corruption.
In July, SunSport reported that concerned tennis bosses claimed betting firms had highlighted “24 suspicious matches” during lockdown.
But because these were exhibitions and charity events — and not professional matches — the TIU had no power to intervene or start a probe.
The report adds the investigation could be part of a wider ‘organised gang fraud.’
Investigators are looking into a flurry of unusual bets during the second set of the contest.
More specifically, they have drawn attention to the fifth game when Sizikova had her own serve broken.
She double-faulted on her serve on two occasions with an alleged ‘hundreds of thousands worth of euros’ bet on the incident occurring.
Video footage online also shows Sizikova appearing to stumble while attempting to reach a forehand return.
Prosecutors have revealed they are probing alleged ‘fraud in an organised group’ and ‘active and passive corruption in sport’.
L’Equipe add how an usually high number of bets were placed on the Romanians winning and that they were placed in several countries through Paris-based gambling outlets.
Sizikova double-faulted on two occasions in the fifth game, second setCredit: Eurosport
Prosecutors have revealed they are probing alleged ‘fraud in an organised group’Credit: Eurosport
Sizikova and Brengle had seven double faults in total during the match compared to their opponent’s one.
The Romanian pair won the match in straight sets.
The French Open have been contacted by SunSport for a response.
Tennis Integrity Unit have declined to make a comment to SunSport.
A spokesman for the Paris Public Prosecutor told SunSport: “I can confirm an investigation was opened on October 1 of the heads of organised fraud, active sports corruption and passive sports corruption and was entrusted to the central service of races and games (SCCJ) Parquet of Paris.”