Tennis: Dolgopolov shrugs off gambling row to reach Open last 16

Dolgopolov's (above) achievements have been overshadowed by concerns over suspicious gambling patterns around his 6-3, 6-3 loss last week to 114th-ranked Thiago Monteiro.
Dolgopolov's (above) achievements have been overshadowed by concerns over suspicious gambling patterns around his 6-3, 6-3 loss last week to 114th-ranked Thiago Monteiro.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (AFP) - Alexandr Dolgopolov shrugged off the gambling controversy hanging over him to reach the fourth round of the US Open on Saturday (Sept 2), matching his best New York showing in the process.

The 64th-ranked Ukrainian needed only 82 minutes to dispatch 52nd-ranked Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-0, 6-4, and reach his first Grand Slam last 16 since the 2011 US Open.

But his achievements have been overshadowed by concerns over suspicious gambling patterns around his 6-3, 6-3 loss last week to 114th-ranked Thiago Monteiro in the first round at Winston-Salem Open.

It was the Brazilian's first ATP hardcourt triumph and came without Dolgolpolov managing a break-point chance, a poor showing he blamed on heavy training for the US Open that left him drained and tired.

Dolgopolov denied involved in any match-fix plot and said upon arriving in New York he went to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which investigates match-fix and betting issues.

"That's why we have the TIU. If there's some strange matches, they investigate it," Dolgopolov said.

"I wasn't happy with what's going on in the press, so I was the first one to come there and try to give them all the information so they can investigate it faster.

"They asked me about some information. They interviewed me. That's it. That's all I can do."

Asked about the probe's impact on him, Dolgopolov said, "Not much. I'm doing well. Obviously it's disappointing, but not more. If people want to write something, they write something. You can't stop them from doing it. It's just not under my control."

The New York Times reported analysts tracking betting patterns found an unusually high amount of money being wagered against Dolgopolov on Monteiro, who went from underdog to favorite when the match began as a result, the quick shift prompting bookmakers to suspend bets on the match.

They also found dubious betting patterns the same day in a WTA New Haven qualifying loss by Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko, according to the report.

"You cannot be perfect every week. So, for sure, you can see bad matches, players playing bad. But if there is gambling involved, it's not for me to say. I don't think about that," said Dolgopolov.

The report said Dolgopolov denied being approached to fix a match, saying, "No, not really. I don't have a lot of friends on social networks."

Dolgopolov, who could face top-ranked Rafael Nadal next, captured his third career ATP title and first since 2012 in February at Buenos Aires but has been nagged by injuries in 2017.

He retired from five matches due to hip, right leg and right ankle issues, withdrawing from three tournaments and playing only three pre-Open hardcourt tuneup matches.

Asked for a second day if gamblers ever asked him to throw a match, Dolgopolov grew irate.

"You're going all over it again. You're giving me the same questions. I'm here not to talk about betting. I already said everything that could be said, and you guys want to give me again the same questions," Dolgopolov said.

"Read about what I said in the first day. I arrived here to talk about tennis, not gambling... I'm not commenting on gambling anymore."