Alexandr Dolgopolov is in the eye of a storm as reports suggest that the Tennis Integrity Unit is looking to open an investigation into a match that the Ukrainian played recently.
Dolgopolov, whose boasts of a best ATP ranking of 13th in the world, went down in straight sets to Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in a first round match that was played at the ATP Winston-Salem.
However, it wasn’t just the loss that seems to have alerted the TIU into investigating. The betting reported at the start of the match seemed to have shown a surprising pattern which prompted some of the bookmakers to shut shop on the encounter.
The 63rd-ranked Dolgopolov had gone into the match in the lead-up to the US Open, as a favourite with various bookmakers offering anywhere between 1.2 and 1.5 for his victory while the 114th-ranked Monteiro was an outside 3.2 to win the match.
We’re possibly witnessing the most obvious match fix of all time.
— Game Set Profit (@GameSetProfit) August 20, 2017
Even before the match started, Monteiro began to attract enough number of bets to change the odds dramatically. The Brazilian, who hadn’t won a match on the hard-court surfaces before that, began to suddenly trade at less than 1.5 even before a serve was sent down and that prompted bookmakers to bring the TUI into the picture.
In a statement, the TIU said:
“The TIU was made aware of concerns over betting patterns during the match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Thiago Monteiro at the ATP World Tour event in Winston-Salem.”
“As with all match alerts, TIU will assess, make a judgement and take appropriate action on the information received through its co-operative agreements with betting operators.”
Betting on an underdog isn’t surprising obviously; it happens in every sport. What was surprising about this particular incident that made the watchdog agency suspicious is the amounts that was bet, as a result of which the odds fluctuated so dramatically.
Dolgopolov not hiding this very well at all. Extremely suspicious ground stroke errors, no injury and betting patterns all over the board.
— Fight_Ghost (@Fight_Ghost) August 20, 2017
Interestingly, in a blog-post on SportDW.com, the exact drifting of the odds against Dolgopolov has been explained.
“Bet365, a major UK bookmaker, would continue offering the match up until 7:34pm, by which time, the price on Dolgopolov had drifted further, reaching a price of 2.37, implying just a 42.2% chance of winning the match. Coral, another UK bookmaker, offered it until 7:39pm, stopping their market once the price had reached 2.50, a 40.0% chance of winning.”
It goes on to add that the changing odds continue even on the Betfair Exchange where the prices had turned around dramatically what with the bookmaker offering 3.15 for Dolgopolov’s win.
Here’s how the Dolgopolov’s price fluctuated over time before the game began:
Dolgopolov’s price on Betfair… pic.twitter.com/nZbiFcQXDc
— jimmy soixante-dix (@hotdog6969) August 20, 2017
It will be interesting to see how the tennis authorities respond to what looked like a very suspicious encounter.
Update on the Dolgopolov story:
When quizzed about the allegations, Dolgopolov said:
“I was giving my best effort – I wasn’t playing my best. I don’t give a f*** to be honest [about the spike in betting] because it’s like a circus. If they find something, good, let’s talk about it.”
“Before that it’s a pity that guys are writing or hurting people’s images without really anything, just a betting pattern. How do I have anything to do with that?”