SOLANGE GUZMAN stunned the No. 5 seed when the individual events of the Pan American Badminton Championships served off yesterday in Dominican Republic.
The Cuban, who has been residing here for over three years and is in the process of becoming a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, whipped Mexican Cynthia Gonzalez 21-19, 21-8 to earn a meeting with Peruvian Luz Maria Zornoza this morning for a place in the quarter-finals.
Former multiple national champion Virginia Chariandy Balwant was scheduled to tackle Henry Geordine of Brazil, but neither player showed up for the encounter. The mixed doubles draw served off last night with Balwant, one of the Caribbean’s leading players of the late 1970s and 80s, combining with Roger Moore, and Guzman teaming up with Anil Seepaul.
After a first round bye in singles, Moore was crushed 21-8, 21-4 by Canadian Andrew D’Souza. Five-time national champ Seepaul had not begun his campaign by press time.
The two will come up against No. 4 seeds Humblers Heymard and Anibal Marroquin of Guatemala when the men’s doubles draw begins today.
Women’s doubles also starts today with the T&T representatives coming up against No. 2 seeds Alex Bruce and Phyllis Chan of Canada.
Balwant, the 51-year-old who continues to win medals at international masters’ (over-35) tournaments, and Guzman combined for gold at the Venezuela Open last year and silver at the Caribbean Badminton Championships.
The 28-year-old Guzman, who has never lost a set in singles to a local player, is the two-time defending champ of the Venezuela Open, and captured a triple crown in the last two editions of the National Championships.
The Pan Am Championships end on Sunday.