World Snooker Championship: Mark Selby relieved to win through

Defending world champion Mark Selby celebrates victory
World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 18 April-4 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Connected TV, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Full details here.

Reigning champion Mark Selby says the pressure of the Crucible played a huge part in his dramatic 10-9 first-round win over debutant Kurt Maflin.

Much of the talk ahead of the World Championship centred on the 'Crucible Curse', with no first-time winner having successfully defended the title.

"At any other venue I think I would have been out.

"But because it is the Crucible, he probably felt the nerves a bit towards the end," Selby admitted.

London-born Norwegian Maflin, the world number 38, led 9-8 at the famous Sheffield venue.

But the world number one demonstrated all his renowned fighting qualities to edge through.

Leicester cueman Selby, who will face either Stephen Maguire or Anthony McGill in the second round, said: "For his first time, he played great.

"Up until 8-5, I felt like I was in control, but then he started getting more and aggressive and played fantastic. When he was in at 9-8, I was sort of preparing my speech thinking the curse has happened again.

"It's a tough tournament and the hardest tournament in the world to win. To win it once is fantastic, but hopefully I can defend it."

And Selby hopes similarities with his first-round win over Welshman Michael White last year will be replicated by another run to the final.

"I am not superstitious but if I was, coming in to the tournament last year, everything went the same," the 31-year-old said.

"I was 6-3 and 8-5 up against Michael and I managed to win 10-9 and the same has happened this time, so hopefully it's a good omen."

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