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Suspicion of match-fixing at Roland Garros: a Russian player placed in custody



Yana Sizikova, the world’s 101st doubles player, is questioned as part of an investigation into a suspicious match during the 2020 Roland-Garros edition.

A Russian tennis player was arrested Thursday in the middle of Roland Garros, suspected, during a doubles match of the 2020 edition of the tournament, of having voluntarily lost a game on which tens of thousands of euros had been bet abroad.

Yana Sizikova, 26 years old and 101st world player in the WTA doubles ranking, had just finished her match in the first round of the 2021 edition, lost with a compatriot to an Australian pair, when the police from the Central Racing and Gaming Service ( SCCJ) of the judicial police came to arrest him, Le Parisien announced on Friday, confirmed by a police source.

The player, ranked 765th in the world in singles, is now in custody as part of the investigation opened on October 1 for “sports corruption” and “organized gang fraud,” said the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Abnormally high bets and shady double faults

This investigation, unveiled in October by the German newspaper Die Welt and the sports daily L’Equipe, concerns the women’s double that pitted Yana Sizikova and her American partner Madison Brengle against the Romanians Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig, on September 30, 2020, during of the first round of the French international tournament.

The suspicions would fall particularly on the fifth game of the second set, a shutout won by the Romanian duo after two gross double faults by the Russian, who took part in the tournament for the first time. The Romanian favorites, won in straight sets 7-6, 6-4. But “abnormally high” sums of the order of “several tens of thousands of euros” had been bet on the outcome of this game, a source familiar with the matter explained in October.

The National Gaming Authority (ANJ), which regulates games, horse racing and sports betting in France, had not detected any anomaly in the bets made “on the French market”. But it had received alerts from private operators as well as from the GLMS (Global Lottery Monitoring System) and the Copenhagen group (which brings together 33 platforms for the fight against sports manipulation in the world).

For its part, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), organizer of Roland-Garros, has confirmed “the arrest of the player, but cannot communicate because a judicial investigation is underway. It is up to the competent judicial authorities to respond to the situation ”. Tennis is occasionally struck by suspicions of match-fixing, but which most often concern second or third category professional tournaments.

On September 27, 2020, two players of Kyrgyz and Uzbek nationalities were thus indicted and placed under judicial supervision in the Val-d’Oise, as part of an investigation opened after a tournament in Gonesse in March this year- the.

A “Maestro” but not Federer

So far in France, the most resounding investigation was opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) in July 2019 for sports corruption, criminal conspiracy and laundering of corruption in an organized gang, with European ramifications.

The French procedure, still ongoing, results from a vast investigation launched in Belgium which, according to the Belgian public prosecutor’s office, affected at least seven countries (Bulgaria, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Belgium) and concerned “a very structured group from Eastern Europe, which operates from Belgium and specializes in tennis matches”. At the head of this alleged network would appear a certain Grigor S., presented as a 28-year-old Belgian of Armenian origin, nicknamed the “Maestro”.

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