Two Russian tennis players banned for life for match-fixing

A tennis ball marked with a sign during a training session in the French Tennis Federation center near the grounds of the French Open in Paris, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (Francois Mori/AP)

LONDON — Two Russian tennis players were banned from the sport for life on Wednesday for match-fixing, including incidents when they played together as doubles partners.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency said Alija Merdeeva was found guilty of two counts of match-fixing. Sofia Dmitrieva was found guilty on six counts of match-fixing and was also charged with failing to co-operate with an investigation.

The case focused on "multiple incidents,'' the ITIA said, including two matches they played together as doubles partners. The ITIA didn't say which tournaments were affected.

Merdeeva and Dmitrieva toured the world playing low-level pro tournaments, often in Africa, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Merdeeva's highest ranking was 928th in the world and Dmitrieva's was 1,191st, though they both achieved slightly more success in doubles.

International Tennis Federation records show that Merdeeva and Dmitrieva teamed up to play doubles at two tournaments in Kenya in 2019.

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