KUALA LUMPUR: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are the last men’s doubles pair to confirm a place in the inaugural Super Series Masters Finals, which will be held in Kota Kinabalu from Dec 18-21.
And they are now bent on staying ahead of the others in the battles among the top eight pairs in the Super Series rankings after 12 tournaments this season. The Masters Finals offer a total purse of US$500,000 and the men’s doubles champions take a US$43,250 share of the pie.
Kien Keat said that a top-four finish in Kota Kinabalu would be a good end to their topsy turvy run this year.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong had a miserable start to the season, failing in their defence of the Malaysia Open, All-England and Swiss Open titles.
The 2006 Doha Asiad gold medallists bounced back briefly to make the semi-finals of the Asian Championships (ABC) in April but it all went wrong for them again after that.
But thanks to three consecutive semi-final finishes in the French, China and Hong Kong Open over the last two months, Kien Keat-Boon Heong made it to the Masters Finals as the seventh ranked pair.
“It is great to be among the top eight for the Masters Finals. It has not been that a good year for us, especially in mid-season. But we are happy that we are back on the right track,” said Kien Keat.
“It will be our last tournament of the year and we will go all out to reach our target of at least the semi-finals.”
They are ranked ahead of China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng in the Masters Finals list released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Monday.
The six pairs ahead of them are Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan (Ina), Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif (Mas), Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen (Den), Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor), Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen (Den) and Candra Wijaya-Tony Gunawan (Ina-Usa).
The 23-year-old Kien Keat said that in the Masters Finals, every match would be like a final of an Open tournament.
“It will not be easy to win even one match in the Masters Finals. All the best pairs have qualified. We need to win at least two matches in the group to book a place in the last four. We will try,” he said.
A draw on Dec 16 in Kota Kinabalu will see the eight qualifiers being divided into two groups. The top two in each group will play in crossover semi-finals.
Before the Masters Finals, Kien Keat will be out to win his fifth national men’s doubles title.
He won his first two titles with Gan Teik Chai and Chan Chong Ming in 2003 and 2004 respectively and he was the champion with Boon Heong in the last two editions.