Player arrested for match-fixing at 2020 French Open

By SAMUEL PETREQUIN

PARIS (AP) — A tennis player suspected of match-fixing last year has been arrested during the French Open, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Friday.

According to French newspaper Le Parisien, which first reported the story, the player is 765th-ranked Yana Sizikova of Russia. The prosecutor’s office confirmed to The Associated Press that a “women’s international player” was in custody, but it did not identify her.

The player was arrested Thursday night on charges of “sports bribery and organized fraud for acts likely to have been committed in September 2020,” the prosecutor’s office said.

An investigation was opened last October by a French police unit specializing in betting fraud and match-fixing. It has previously worked with Belgian authorities investigating suspect matches at the lower levels of professional tennis.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency, which investigates match-fixing in the sport, declined to comment on the details of the case but said in a message to the AP that “there has been ongoing liaison between the ITIA and law enforcement in France.”

The prosecutor’s office said the probe centered on suspicions about one match at Roland Garros last year. It did not specify the match. German newspaper Die Welt and French sports daily L’Equipe said at the time there were suspicious betting patterns in the first round of a women’s doubles match on Sept. 30.

On that day, Sizikova and partner Madison Brengle of the United States played on Court No. 10 against Romanian players Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig. Sizikova was broken to love serving in the fifth game of the second set, during which she double-faulted twice.

Le Parisien reported Friday that tens of thousands of euros (dollars) were bet with several operators in different countries on the Romanian players winning that game.

The newspaper said Sizikova was arrested Thursday after losing in the first round of the doubles tournament at Roland Garros. The newspaper said authorities searched Sizikova’s hotel room.

It wasn’t immediately known if Sizikova has an attorney.

Last year’s French Open, delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, was played in late September and early October.

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this story.

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