Kian Meng remains grounded ahead of Finals

In a good spot: Tan Kian Meng (right) and Lai Pei Jing have provisionally moved up two rungs to sixth in the World Tour standings.

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles shuttler Tan Kian Meng insists he will not get carried away despite having one foot in the World Tour Finals with just two tournaments remaining.

The 26-year-old Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing have provisionally moved up two rungs to sixth in the World Tour standings after two Chinese pairs – Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong and Wang Yilyu-Huang Dong Ping – who are fourth and fifth respectively, lost their place after pulling out from the upcoming two Thailand Opens in Bangkok.

China will not be part of the three-tournament bubble after they were barred from travelling due to fresh Covid-19 concerns.

Only the top eight singles shuttlers and doubles pairs at the end of the regular season will qualify for the Finals which boast lucrative a prize money of US$1.5mil (RM6.03mil).

All qualifiers in the doubles are assured of pocketing a minimum US$10,500 (RM42,000) with the winners taking home a whopping US$126,000 (RM507,000).

Although on course to secure his second appearance, Kian Meng does not want to think beyond the first Open in Bangkok from Dec 12-17.

“We’re not thinking about the Finals yet. The main focus is the first tournament, that’s what we will get ready for, ” said Kian Meng.

“It’s been 10 months since the All-England, I don’t think any of us have ever stopped competing on the international circuit for such a long period.

“So, it’s important for us to start well to get settled.”

It is understandable why Kian Meng is so focused on the first Open as they are faced with a daunting task.

The pair have been pitted against world No. 5 Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino.

The Japanese are in a winning mood after triumphing at their National Championships last week.

But Kian Meng and Pei Jing are unperturbed.

“We are the national champions too (referring to their victory in the BAM Invitational Championships where they beat national No. 1 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying in August). We’re ready to take them on.”

The Malaysians will also fancy their chances after having won all their three previous encounters.

In the second Open, Kian Meng-Pei Jing take on Denmark Open semi-finalists Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith of England in the first round. It will be a first meeting for the two pairs.

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