French Open: Match-fixing investigation launched

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into alleged match-fixing at the French Open.

The ongoing tournament was rocked on Tuesday by the announcement from the prosecutor’s office that the doubles match between Romania’s Andrea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig and Russian Yana Sizikova and American Madison Brengle was being investigated over alleged match-fixing.

Prosecutors said that the investigation surrounds “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption”, and was launched last Thursday.

French Open organisers said that it was a matter for the Tennis Integrity Unit to handle, with the TIU declining to comment on Tuesday as is usual with ongoing investigations.

Mitu and Mari won the first-round encounter 7-6 (10-8), 6-4, before being knocked out in the third round on Sunday.

The investigation was launched after bookmakers identified irregular betting activity around the match, with allegations reported by German newspaper Welt claiming that the fifth game of the second set attracted suspicion that it was fixed.

It’s claimed that hundreds of thousands of euros were bet on a break of Sizikova’s serve, which went the way of Mitu and Tig to love. Sizikova was at fault for three of the four points conceded, with the Russian delivering two double-faults and failing to reach the ball after being forced onto the baseline.

After the game had concluded, Sizikova returned to the court alone in-between the change of ends to practice her serve, but hit another fault into the net.

French newspaper L’Equipe has also reported substantial bets on Mitu and Mari winning the match, and that stakes were wages during the match using Paris-based bookmakers across several countries.

Punishments for anyone found guilty of match-fixing includes a lifetime ban from the sport, and recent fines have ranged between $15,000 (£11,500) and $200,000 (£153,000), which was handed to Brazilian Joao Souza earlier this year for multiple breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme.

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