Russian tennis player Yana Sizikova has been arrested on match-fixing charges at the French Open.
Paris prosecutors told the Associated Press that an international tennis player was arrested Thursday on charges of "sports bribery and organized fraud" for acts suspected to have occurred last September. Sizikova's lawyer Frederic Belot confirmed to AP that she was the player arrested.
Sizikova denies the charges and intends to sue for defamation. She was "extremely shocked," according to Belot.
“She was placed in custody like a criminal," Belot said. "She says she is innocent and did not want me to assist her during her questioning because she considers herself like a victim."
'Abnormally large bets' on doubles match raised flags
The charges appear related to a doubles match from last year's French Open that was delayed to September because of the COVID-19 pandemic. French prosecutors announced last October that they had opened an investigation. A source familiar with the investigation told AFP last year that a series of "abnormally large bets" amounting to "tens of thousands of euros" raised flags for authorities.
Sizikova double faulted twice during game in question
French paper L'Equipe and German newspaper Die Welt reported that the suspicious betting took place on a match involving Sizikova and American partner Madison Brengle vs. Romania's Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig. Large bets were placed on Mitu and Maria Tig winning the fifth game of the second set.
Sizikova served that game, double faulting twice. She was broken to love, and the Romanians went on to a 7-6, 6-4 win.
Sizikova was back in Paris this week to compete at the French Open. She's ranked No. 765 in the world and 101st in doubles. Sizikova and partner Ekaterina Alexandrova lost their first-round match to Australia's Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanović on Thursday. Le Parisien reports that authorities searched Sizikova's hotel room after the match.
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