Match-Fixing at Izmir Challenger Doubles Final?

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Match-Fixing at Izmir Challenger Doubles Final?

Tennis world’s social media is abuzz with suggestions that a recent doubles final match involving the Ukrainian-Tunisian pair of Denys Molchanov and Malek Jaziri may have been fixed by the players.

Playing the final of the Izmir ATP Challenger event in Turkey on Sunday, Molchanov and Jaziri retired at 8-9 in the match tie-break against the Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Divij Sharan. At this stage, match-point down, Jaziri suddenly began to complain of a problem in his foot and called the trainer for an ‘unspecified’ injury.

Jaziri and Molchanov later retired and won only 1,380 euros as the losing finalists instead of the 2,350 euros they could have ended up winning as event champions. The pair also collected just 33 ranking points as opposed to the 55 they could have gained as winners.

Both these players have been accused of match-fixing in the past as well. In a contest against 303rd-ranked Agustin Velotti at Dallas in February, 174th-ranked Molchanov threw away a match after winning the first set quite comfortably. Incidentally, more than $900,000 had been bet on Velotti to win shortly after Molchanov won the first set.

Tunisia’s Jaziri withdrew in a match at Open Sud de France in Montpellier earlier this year. His reasoning was to avoid facing an Israeli player in the next round amid strained international relations between the two countries.

In a similar case of match-fixing, Italian tennis players Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali were banned for life by the Italian Tennis Federation in August.

Due to recent increase in online betting, there have been lots of instances of players being approached for match-fixing on social media in recent times.

In 2010, a man named ‘Vadim’ approached a then top-200 and current top-100 player to fix a match in exhange of $300,000. The player incidentally only earned $75,000 in prize money during that whole year. That conversation is seen below, in all its shameful glory:

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

Meanwhile, there has been no hint of match-fixing reported from the ATP so far on the Molchanov-Jaziri retirement. The governing men’s tennis body maintains that the retirement was due to an ‘unspecified injury’.

We will see if anything comes of this story in the next couple days or even weeks, if it does Garber Sports will have that story covered as well.

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Ashish Maggo is a sports journalist living in India and he has worked there for reputed media companies such as NDTV, The Times of India Group and Asian News International.

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