French Open: Authorities Launch Investigation Into Alleged Match-Fixing

A police investigation began on Oct. 1 that focuses on the French Open and alleged match-fixing. The Paris prosecutor's office launched the investigation due to suspicions surrounding one match at Roland Garros. However, the office did not specify which match.

According to a report from The Associated Press, a French police unit is conducting the investigation. This group specializes in betting fraud and match-fixing probes. Additionally, this police unit previously worked with Belgian authorities in investigating suspected match-fixing on the lower levels of professional tennis. Probes targeting the Grand Slam level of professional tennis are relatively rare, but German newspaper Die Welt and French sports daily L'Equipe both reported suspicious betting patterns on Sept. 30.

One particular match pitted Romanian players Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig against Madison Brengle of the United States and Yana Sizikova of Russia. Large sums of money were allegedly placed on the two Romanians to win the fifth game. The bets were placed across several operators and from different countries.

Die Welt cited several sources while reporting that several hundred thousand euros were bet on the game featuring the two Romanians. The fifth game of the second set, in particular, was the focus. This fifth game was one in which Sizikova double-faulted twice. The Romanians eventually won the match 7-6 and 6-4.

According to Yahoo! Sports, director-general of French tennis Jean-François Vilotte said that the investigation uncovered a considerable amount of information. "It means that these warning systems are working. It's good that everyone is doing their part in the exchange of information," he explained.

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

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While the bets were placed through several different operators, they did not appear to occur in the French gambling market. An insider revealed no anomalies were detected, creating the belief that the bets hailed from overseas. "They must have been afraid to bet in France," the source explained. "They tried to spread the bets around other markets but the betting industry bodies know how to do their sums."

The Tennis Integrity Unit, which serves as the sport's anti-corruption body, responded to questions about the investigation. It said it would not comment on "in line with our policy of operational confidentiality."