Women's tennis match comes under suspicion because of unusual betting patterns
By NESHA STARCEVIC, AP Sports Writer
October 4, 2007
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) -- A women's tennis match drew suspicion for unusual betting patterns, and the WTA Tour was investigating Thursday -- two months after the men's tour began a probe into gambling on a match.
*******, an online betting site, briefly delayed payment after 120th-ranked Mariya Koryttseva beat No. 96 Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-4, 6-2 on Sept. 21 in the quarterfinals of the Sunfeast Open in India.
Eventually, bets were paid out, and both the WTA and ******* said they doubt there was any wrongdoing connected to the match.
"We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to gambling-related activity, and we have been in close contact with ******* and are investigating this situation," WTA vice president of communications Andrew Walker said Thursday at the tour's event in Stuttgart.
"To be clear, at this time there is no indication of any wrongdoing by anyone, including the players, their support teams, officials or staff members," Walker added.
******* director of communications Mark Davies would not discuss why the match raised suspicions, nor would he say how much money was wagered on it.
"We had some concerns so we delayed settlement, but you can see by the fact that we settled that we were happy," Davies said.
He said several reasons could contribute to a delay in settlement.
"I would guess there was a movement in prices, but it might as easily have been the behavior of just one particular account," Davies said.
The new claims come after *******, in an unprecedented move, voided bets on a match between fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland because of irregular betting patterns.
Davydenko withdrew from the Aug. 2 match in the third set with a foot injury, and the ATP is conducting an investigation.
Since then, other players have said they have been approached by outsiders trying to influence a tennis match. Last month, Gilles Elseneer of Belgium said he was offered -- and turned down -- more than $100,000 to lose a first-round match against Potito Starace of Italy at Wimbledon in 2005.
It is against ATP and WTA rules for players to bet on tennis.
The French weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche has reported that several Italian tennis players had online betting accounts. The Italian Tennis Federation threatened legal action.
Associated Press writers Victor L. Simpson in Rome and David McNicoll in London contributed to this report.
Updated on Thursday, Oct 4, 2007 1:05 pm, EDT