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Russian tennis player Yana Sizikova has been arrested at the French Open as part of an investigation into match-fixing at last year's annual event, authorities say.
The 26-year-old doubles specialist was detained on Thursday, June 3, in Paris. A French Tennis Federation source confirmed her arrest to E! News but declined to provide more details, citing an ongoing judicial investigation. Sizikova, who is ranked 101st in doubles, has not commented, maintains her innocence.
"Yana Sizikova is shaken and denies accusations of crimes she has never committed," her lawyer, Frederic Belot, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS, according to Reuters. "The accusations hurt her reputation."
Sizikova was taken into custody as she came out of a post-match massage session, according to French newspaper Le Parisien, which first reported the arrest. The French prosecutor's office confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday, June 4, that a "women's international player" was arrested on Thursday on charges of "sports bribery and organized fraud for acts likely to have been committed in September 2020." Prosecutors did not identify her by name.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to Reuters that Sizikova was arrested over match-fixing allegations related to last year's tournament. Last fall, the Paris prosecutor's office began an investigation into alleged match-fixing in a 2020 French Open women's doubles first-round match that Sizikova and partner Madison Brengle from the United States lost to Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari, Reuters reported. No one except Sizikova has been arrested.
Suspicions arose because of abnormally high betting activity on the game registered in countries outside of France, which was reported to law enforcement, a source close to the case told Agence France-Presse at the time. Investigators concentrated on part of the game that featured two unusual double-faults by Sizikova, the news wire reported.
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The International Tennis Integrity Agency, which investigates match-fixing in the sport, declined to comment on the details of the criminal case but told the AP "there has been ongoing liaison between the ITIA and law enforcement in France."
Shamil Tarpischev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation, told the RIA news agency that he had been informed of Sizikova's detention, while TASS news agency also reported that the Russian embassy in Paris had been informed of the situation, Reuters said. Russian officials have not commented on her case.
—Reporting by Taylor Bryant