Bets stopped on mixed doubles match due to unusual wager volume

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Monday, January 25, 2016

A sports gambling website suspended betting on a mixed doubles match Sunday at the Australian Open because a large amount of money came in on the obscure match.

According to Marco Blume, the head of the sportsbook at Pinnacle Sports, nearly all the money came in for the pairing of Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot against opponents Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero, an indication that the match might be fixed.

"We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money," Blume told The New York Times.

Blume said Pinnacle had seen no such betting behavior around any other match at this Australian Open. He said suspicious activity on the match began about 13 hours ahead of its scheduled start, and Pinnacle proceeded to cut off betting. Blume then contacted police in Melbourne's province to detail the possible irregularities.

"In context, these matches are rather small," Blume said. "That means that any aggressive betting behavior is very easy to detect on our side."

Blume said the Pinnacle sportsbook hadn't encountered such betting behavior on any other match at the 2016 Australian Open.

The action came on the heels of reports last week that the International Tennis Federation had failed to deal with 16 players who were repeatedly flagged over suspicions that they had thrown matches.

A spokeswoman for the ITF said the organization had not been notified of any suspicious activity and the Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport's internal watchdog, would be notified before the ITF. A representative for the Tennis Integrity Unit declined to comment on the mixed doubles match.

Hlavackova and Kubot won Sunday's match 6-0, 6-3 in a sweep that featured a first set that lasted just 20 minutes.

After the match, Arruabarrena and Marrero both dismissed the idea that match fixing was involved. Marrero cited a knee injury in explaining the pair's performance.

Kubot is the 28th-ranked doubles player on the men's tour, and Hlavackova is 20th among women. Arruabarrena is the 33rd-ranked doubles player on the women's tour, and Marrero is ranked 32nd among men.