Posts Tagged ‘Tennis’

Tennis players throw their matches when “they can’t play their best”

January 25, 2016

As new details emerge about strange betting patterns around a mixed doubles match in the ongoing  Australian Open, an Australian professional tennis player, Nick Lindahl (of Swedish birth) pleads guilty to corrupt betting and admits in court that he threw a match for gains to be made by betting for his opponent to win.

But some of what he revealed perhaps throws light on when top players throw matches – either directly for payment or for indirect gains from bets placed against their opponents.

First the report on the current match in the Australian Open. The statements attributed to David Marrero are more than a little weird and he has apparently been involved before with “suspicious matches”.

Yahoo SportsHow bold would a player have to be to fix a match in the middle of a match-fixing scandal? That’s the question buzzing around the Australian Open on Monday, where a suspicious mixed doubles match has reignited the match-fixing controversy that has surrounded the tournament since a joint Buzzfeed/BBC report was released last Sunday

The suspicion started when betting site Pinnacle Sports suspended betting on the match featuring Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero against Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot. Large amounts of money were being placed on Kubot and Klavackova in what would normally be an obscure match, the head of the site told the New York Times

“We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money,” he said. “In context, these matches are rather small. That means that any aggressive betting behavior is very easy to detect on our side.”

This is the first Australian Open match that Pinnacle Sports has flagged this year. Hlavackoba and Kubot won in rapid fashion, closing out the match at 6-0, 6-3. 

Arruabarrena and Marrero are each ranked No. 33 and No. 32 among doubles players on the women’s and men’s tours, respectively. Marrero was part of the team that won the 2013 ATP World Tour championship. They denied any match-fixing, saying that the reason for their unexpected loss was that Marrero has a knee injury. Then Marrero, who has played nearly 30 mixed doubles matches, gave a more bizarre answer.

“Normally, when I play, I play full power, in doubles or singles,” he said. “But when I see the lady in front of me, I feel my hand wants to play, but my head says, ‘Be careful.’ This is not a good combination.”

Arruabarrena questioned if a spectator had noticed the injury during their Saturday practice session and subsequently tipped someone off. The Times noted that this is not the first time a Marrero doubles match has raised suspicions

In the meantime, the SMH reports on Nick Lindahl’s shenanigans:

A former Australian professional tennis player has pleaded guilty in a Sydney court to a corrupt betting charge in a scheme to fix a match in Queensland. But Nick Lukas Lindahl will fight the allegation he tried to hide evidence related to match fixing.   

Lindahl, 27, was arrested by the NSW Organised Crime Squad at Liberty Grove, in Sydney’s inner west, in February last year.

His court appearance comes just days after allegations of widespread match fixing rocked the international tennis world on the eve of the Australian Open. …….

During this conversation, Lindahl was heard encouraging Mr Fox to get rid of computer data and a mobile phone app, police allege.

“Just get rid of everything … hide it,” he said.

He also spoke about how he had previously told police he had thrown matches “because that’s what tennis players do when they can’t play their best”.

Mr Fox and Mr Wolfenden have already had their matters heard before court.

Lindahl has pleaded guilty to using corrupt conduct /information to bet on an event but pleaded not guilty to concealing conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of events.

It makes a kind of sense. Players expected to win but who are either feeling out of sorts or don’t expect to progress sufficiently far to win any real prize money, have much money to win by losing unexpectedly. That of course will be one of the key criteria for a “suspicious” match. And from now on, I shall be automatically suspicious of any unexpected loss early on in a tournament.


Related: Why did Tennis Australia board members quit on eve of Australian Open?


 

3 wins, 2 walkovers and the US open goes to Hingis and Paes

September 12, 2015

They had a relatively “easy” draw in that they had 2 walkovers in their 5 wins to the mixed doubles title.

Mixed doubles is the afterthought in any tennis tournament and sometimes just a consolation prize for losing out in the singles, but for Martina Hingis (35) and Leander Paes (42), the mixed doubles is “mainstream”. They have just won their 3rd grand slam title of the year with the US Open title following their wins at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. For Paes it was his 9th mixed doubles grand slam title and the highest number for any man. Martina Navratilova has 10 md titles – and two of those were with Paes (Australian and Wimbledon in 2003). It was Paes’ 17th Grand Slam title overall and Hingis’ 19th.

The combination of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza which won Wimbledon, has also reached the finals of the ladies doubles at the US Open.

USOpenLeander Paes has now won more Grand Slam mixed doubles titles (9) than any other man in the Open era with his victory in Friday’s championship match. Teaming with Martina Hingis, the No. 4 seeds defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey, 6-4, 3-6, [10-7]. …….. The win gives Hingis her first title at the US Open since 1998 and her first mixed doubles title here. It also marks Paes’ second mixed doubles title at the US Open, having last won in 2008 with Cara Black, and the ninth mixed doubles title of his career.

The HinduThe fourth seeded India-Swiss pair, edged past unseeded Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey 6-4 3-6 10-7 in a tricky final to win their third Major title together this season. ………. With this win, Paes and Hingis, who also won Australian Open and Wimbledon titles early this season, have become the first mixed doubles team since 1969 to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in the same year. 

It was Paes’ 17th Grand Slam title overall and Hingis’ 19th.

 


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