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Injury Comment Sparks Unusual Betting

WAGERING on a Wimbledon match soared after a TV commentator pointed out one of the players is injured, an online bookmaker said yesterday.

The British bookmaker, Betfair, alerted tennis corruption investigators about the unusual betting patterns for the first-round match on Tuesday between 109th-ranked Wayne Odesnik of the United States and 30th-ranked Jurgen Melzer of Austria, but does not suspect any wrongdoing, spokesman Mark Davies said.

Davies said Betfair received more than six times as many wagers as it would normally receive for such a match. Melzer's odds "shortened significantly," Davies said, after a TV announcer noted shortly before the match that Odesnik has a thigh injury. Melzer won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Betfair received about 600,000 pounds (US$980,000) of wagers on the match, Davies said; the average for a first-round match at Wimbledon is less than 100,000 pounds.

"It's being reported as potential corruption, but I don't see it that way at all," Davies said. "I doubt that there was any wrongdoing."

Still, Betfair has reported the heavy betting to the International Tennis Federation's integrity unit.

Tennis increased the attention it pays to allegations of matchfixing and players betting on the sport since Betfair voided all wagers on a 2007 match between fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello after suspicious betting patterns emerged. The players were cleared by an ATP investigation.


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