Rare match-fixing get on women’s side

Most of the players the Tennis Integrity Unit nabs on match-fixing and related offences are men.

In fact, according to the list of TIU convictions, all of them.

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The only woman was Ekaterina Bychkova, who was suspended for 30 days in 2010 for failing to report an approach. But Bychkova was not found to have fixed any matches.

On Wednesday, the TIU announced that Loveth Donatus of Nigeria has been suspended for two years and fined $5,000, after being found guilty on several charges.

Half the length of the ban, and the entire fine, will be suspended if she commits no further offenses.

That makes sense, as according to the WTA’s website (we know, not the most reliable these days), her official career earnings add up to $1,216. So clearly any earnings she might have managed came … off the court.

Donatus, who has never had a ranking, was found to have accepted money to lose a match against 23-year-old Abir El Fahimi of Morocco at an ITF in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in Aug. 2016.

El Fahimi played the Futures level for 4 1/2 years without much success. And she also represented Morocco in Fed Cup in the Europe-Africa Zone 3 last year.

Donatus lost 6-1, 6-4.

Quarterly Tennis Integrity Unit report

Several match-fixing offenses

The TIU’s investigation also determined Donatus failed to report an approach. And it also found that she “further attempted to persuade a fellow player to deliberately under-perform, in return for payment.”

As it happens, her country is hosting a pair of $25,000 joint ITF events last week and this week in Lagos. Donatus played both weeks; they were her first matches since last November.

Now 26, Donatus only began playing the low-level ITF tournaments in 2015. And after 11 tournaments, she had won a total of just one match.

That came last November in the first round of qualifying at a $25,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Dakar. Her opponent was M.J. Changwereza of Great Britain, 14 at the time, who was playing her first-ever match in a pro event.

(Photo from Tennis Africa Magazine)

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