Selby advances to next round despite neck injury fears

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

MARK Selby is through to the last 32 stage of this year’s China Open but admitted feeling uncomfortable with a neck injury during his first round win.

Selby, the reigning world champion, beat Mark Joyce 5-3 in the opening round of the tournament despite feeling pain throughout the match.

Three years ago, Selby suffered from a bulging disc at the top of his spine which forced him to pull out of the China Open and led to a first round defeat at the World Championship.

“Yesterday I pulled my neck again, as I did a few years ago so I felt a bit uncomfortable out there,” Selby said.

“Hopefully it won’t be as bad as it was before and I’ll be ok within the next few days. Yesterday I was struggling so I did some stretches, took some painkillers and had a massage. It felt ok before the match started, then at the interval I went to the toilet and slipped, and felt it.

“I can get down on the shot, it’s just a little bit of pain so hopefully it will wear off. My health is more important than anything else.”

Selby will next face Elliot Slessor in the next round after the world number 97, who is likely to drop off the main tour at the end of the season, beat Matthew Selt 5-3.

Two centuries from Judd Trump helped him to reach the last 32 stage after he beat Andrew Higginson 5-3.

Recent World Grand Prix champion Trump, who won the China Open in 2011, will face an intriguing tie with Peter Ebdon.

But the second day of the event proved a bad one for last week’s Players Championship winner Joe Perry who fell to a surprising 5-3 defeat to David Gilbert.

Former world champion John Higgins set up a last 32 encounter with fellow Scot Graeme Dott after beating China’s Yu Delu 5-3. Dott beat Daniel Wells by the same score.

In-form Mark Williams beat China’s Zhao Xintong 5-2 with a top break of 71, while Shaun Murphy top scored with 68 in a 5-1 win over Jamie Cope.

Indian Open champion Michael White also reached the next round after a break of 74 in a final frame decider clinched him victory over Ken Doherty.

China Open 2015 – Last 32

Ding JUNHUI vs Mark DAVIS
Mark WILLIAMS vs Michael LESLIE
John HIGGINS vs Graeme DOTT
Peter EBDON vs Judd TRUMP
Barry HAWKINS vs Dominic DALE
Ryan DAY vs Stephen MAGUIRE
Ricky WALDEN vs Gary WILSON
Jack LISOWSKI vs Dechawat POOMJAENG
Robin HULL vs Mark KING
Mike DUNN vs Kurt MAFLIN
Marco FU vs Jamie JONES
Anthony McGILL vs Shaun MURPHY
Stuart BINGHAM vs Michael WHITE
Zak SURETY vs Robert MILKINS
David GILBERT vs Zhou YUELONG
Elliot SLESSOR vs Mark SELBY

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