In a galaxy of professional tennis players, Karolina Pliskova and Jessica Pegula, incredibly, will collide Sunday for the third time … this month.

When Pliskova defeated Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-1 and Pegula beat wildcard Storm Sanders 6-3, 6-4, they locked down a third-round meeting at the Miami Open.

The No. 6-seeded Pliskova is 0-2 against Pegula – and it hasn’t been close. On March 4, the American took a Doha quarterfinal 6-3, 6-1. On March 10, it was a breezy 6-0, 6-2 result in the Dubai round of 16. Do the math: That’s six games in four sets for Pliskova.

After reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the semifinals in Doha, No. 29 seed Pegula is 13-5, and her 18 matches played rank fourth among WTA players.

Sunday in Miami will be a terrific day of tennis, with a 22-match winning streak on the line, along with four Grand Slam champions and a precocious teenager in action.

Five of the eight matches are first-time encounters.

No. 2 Naomi Osaka vs. Nina Stojanovic

Osaka is author of the aforementioned 22 consecutive victories. She had some nervous moments against Ajla Tomljanovic but found an equilibrium and prevailed 7-6(3), 6-4.

READ: How Osaka can retake No.1 from Barty in Miami

She’s a runaway first in the Porsche Race to Shenzhen, but there is this caveat lurking: In four previous appearances, Osaka has never been past the third round at the Miami Open.

“I feel like all of my results, there is always a story behind them,” Osaka said in her last post-match press conference. “One year when I played here it was after I won Indian Wells and I was really like mentally fatigued. The next year I wasn’t doing so well on the hard courts, so it was like back-to-back losses.

“I don’t really think it’s too much you can read into them. But I always feel like there is always a reason why I haven’t done well here, and hopefully I’m able to do well this time.”

Stojanovic, a qualifier ranked No. 95, saved two match points to upset No. 26 seed Yulia Putintseva 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in the second round.

These two have yet to meet.

No. 8 Bianca Andreescu vs. No. 28 Amanda Anisimova

On Monday, the day before the tournament began, Anisimova was concluding a phone interview.

Asked about the possibility of playing Andreescu in the third round, she volunteered, “I practiced with her today. I would be excited to play Bianca. I’ve never played her before.”

There’s a first time for everything, and this is it for the 19-year-old American. She sprinted past Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3, despite suffering briefly a bit from the heat and humidity.

Andreescu, who missed the entire 2020 season with a knee injury, has played only seven matches this year. She looked a little rusty against qualifier Tereza Martincova but survived two set points and advanced 7-6 (5), 6-2. It was her first match since the Australia swing.

“It’s my third tournament back,” Andreescu said, “So it’s a little bit different, but once I continue to play matches I know I’m going to get back into the groove of just being back on tour. But I’m feeling really good. I’m super proud of myself with how I handled everything.”

READ: Finding balance between tennis and health key to Andreescu's success

Andreescu said she wasn’t aware her next opponent would be Anisimova.

“She hits very flat,” Andreescu said, “I have to be ready for everything. She has a very good serve, but I’m feeling good out there and I think it’s going to be a very good match.”

No. 12 Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Anna Kalinskaya

She’s ranked No. 13, but Muguruza is second in the Porsche Race to Shenzhen with a terrific 19-4 record for 2021. Those 23 matches are the most on tour and her 19 wins are second to none.

Muguruza defeated Wang Xinyu 6-4, 6-1.

READ: Muguruza, Mertens lead charge of seeds in Miami

She said she was nervous beforehand because Miami is a tournament in which she loves to play.

2021 Miami Highlights: Muguruza motors past Wang Xinyu

“Playing well in the Middle East swing, I just wanted to keep the same energy and the same quality of tennis,” Muguruza said. “It was actually very windy, so that makes it very tricky. Playing a little bit an unknown player, you know, you never know, as well.”

Kalinskaya, ranked No. 115, upset No. 20 seed Petra Martic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

This will be their first meeting.

No. 4 Sofia Kenin vs. No. 27 Ons Jabeur

Kenin wore down Andrea Petkovic 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-3 in her first match back after an emergency appendectomy.

After going 3-3 in Australia, the defending Australian Open champion wound up in a Melbourne hospital in mid-February.

“It obviously felt a bit different,” Kenin said. “I just felt a bit out of it with the warm-up, and once we started playing, you know, I looked, and I was, like, `Are you going to say `Play’?

Head to Head

More Head to Head
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sofia kenin
USA
71.4% Win 5
- Matches Played
28.6% Win 2
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ons jabeur
TUN

“Yeah, I obviously felt a bit more nervous at the beginning, first match after having the surgery and everything. I just told myself, `Keep fighting.’”

Jabeur fought off illness in her three-set win over Paula Badosa, overcoming a third-set service break.

Kenin holds a forceful 5-1 edge in head-to-head, including straight sets at last year’s US Open and French Open.

No. 21 Elena Rybakina vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo

Sorribes Tormo upset No. 13 seed Jennifer Brady 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a battle of two of the tour’s most in-form players. Brady was an Australian Open finalist.

“I can’t believe it,” Sorribes Tormo said, smiling, “so I’m just super happy. I think today was one of the best matches I played. I’m 100 percent sure. I don’t want to say it’s the best match I played, but I’m sure it’s one of the best.”

The 24-year-old Spaniard is coming off two spectacular weeks in Mexico, winning her first title in Guadalajara (over Eugenie Bouchard in the final) and reaching the semifinals in Monterrey. She’s 13-4 for 2021 – and the last to beat Naomi Osaka back in February 2020. She’s also the only player to save match points and win – twice.

Rybakina prevailed over Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-0.

These two have never played.

No. 23 Maria Sakkari vs. Liudmila Samsonova

Samsonova, a 22-year-old Russian upset No. 10 Kiki Bertens 6-2, 6-1 – the highest seed to exit the tournament so far. Samsonova, a qualifier ranked No. 126, is a tidy 8-4 for 2021.

Sakkari upended Arantxa Rus 6-2, 6-3.

This is another first-time meeting.

No. 16 Elise Mertens vs No. 22 Anett Kontaveit

Mertens defeated Katie Boulter 6-4, 6-1, while Kontaveit handled Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Mertens has a 2-1 head-to-head advantage, having won most recently at Sydney in 2019.