The ATP have been getting slack on fixed matches this year so it's only fitting that after last week's Janko Tipsarevic fix, we've got another one going on right now in St Petersburg, in front of a huge crowd of about 20 spectators.
Filippo Volandri is obviously supposed to lose and is doing his level best to make sure that happens. He won the first set, yet Gabashvili's price to win the match shortened. Gabashvili then goes down a break in the 2nd set, takes an injury timeout for treatment on his right knee which is now strapped heavily. Volandri makes sure he can't go further ahead by throwing in two timely double-faults to lose his serve. Gabashvili wins the second set, then Volandri hands him a very soft break in the opening game of the third.
At 2-1 in the third set, the Italian conveniently calls out the trainer for treatment on his right arm and pops a pill to make it look like there are reasons for his pathetic tanking. He is now doing everything he can to lose this, deliberate errors, double faults etc... Over £2.3m has now been traded on Betfair on this awful, awful match.
The ATP and their integrity unit will have received warnings about this match while it has been in progress. They'll take a look at it and find some convenient reasons why they can't take any action against the players. Playing in a country (Russia) that probably doesn't have sporting fraud and corruption listed as a crime will be one of those reasons. And both players were injured, blah, blah, blah.... Nothing will be done.
Here's the washup. Whether the sport is actually dirty or not is almost irrelevant - it comes down to the perception. Too many events, played at the wrong time of year, serving no real purpose in the calendar other than to give journeymen a few extra chances to win (or lose) a few matches, only pours fuel on the fire.
The ATP has a real problem on its hands now....