It was Fateful Friday at the Miami Open with six seeded players from the bottom half of the draw, including four of the first 11, departing abruptly to contemplate the upcoming clay season. No.4 Ons Jabeur, No.5 Caroline Garcia, No.7 Maria Sakkari and No.11 Veronika Kudermetova -- gone, all gone.

Still, every ending brings a new beginning and the possibilities in Sunday’s third round are intriguing. There are seven unseeded players among the 16 remaining in the bottom half and three matches featuring two of them, not to mention a lucky loser.

That most remarkable case is Magdalena Frech, who lost to Nao Hibino in the second round of qualifying, then jumped into the main draw when Zhang Shuai withdrew with illness. Frech came back to defeat wildcard Erika Anddreeva 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and now faces Varvara Gracheva, the qualifier who upset Jabeur.

No fewer than five Grand Slam singles champions are also in action, including World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, the draw’s top seed with the withdrawal of Iga Swiatek.

Let’s break down five of Sunday’s marquee third-round matches from the draw’s bottom half:

No.16 Barbora Krejcikova vs. No.19 Madison Keys

Now here is an absorbing matchup: The smooth, classically complete game of Krejcikova opposite the raw power of Keys.

Late last month, Krejcikova scored a rare triple, defeating the top-three-ranked players in Dubai -- Swiatek (in the final), Sabalenka (quarterfinals) and Jessica Pegula (semifinals). In all, Krejcikova beat five of the Top 15 players en route to her first WTA 1000 title.

Last week in Indian Wells she pushed eventual finalist Sabalenka to three sets yet again. Here in Miami, she was a 6-3, 6-2 second-round winner over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Keys’ game seems suited to these hardcourts but her overall record at this tournament is 8-11. In fact, her 6-4, 6-4 victory over wildcard Robin Montgomery ended a five-match losing streak.

The fast courts at Hard Rock Stadium, which are playing quicker than Indian Wells, should help Keys' shots penetrate the court, though Krejcikova has also excelled on quicker courts. There’s also the matter of a 1-0 head-to-head advantage. Keys was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Krejcikova in the quarterfinals of last year’s Australian Open.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Sofia Kenin

How about this – a meeting of two unseeded players who also happen to be major singles champions?

Both players are trying to regain the dizzying altitude that defined their early careers. Andreescu was the 2019 US Open champion and Kenin won the 2020 Australian Open.

Andreescu, still only 22, has put together two terrific three-set victories, over Emma Raducanu and No.7 Sakkari.

“I like big stages. I guess that’s what it is, honestly,” Andreescu said after coming back to beat Sakkari 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. “Just being on the big stage. I like it. I thrive on it. Well, I try to.”

Kenin, ranked No.164, knocked off No.28 seed Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets.

“I know that she might not be doing as well as she’s hoping, but same with me,” Andreescu said of Kenin. “So I think it’s going to be an interesting matchup.”

Miami: Andreescu overcomes Sakkari for first Top 10 win of 2023

2023 Miami

No.2 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No.31 Marie Bouzkova

With a 6-4, 6-3 win over Shelby Rogers, Sabalenka tallied her 18th win of the young season, the best total among Hologic WTA Tour players. Another telling statistic: Only Swiatek (16) has won more straights-sets matches than Sabalenka’s 15.

The 18-2 start is the best since Simona Halep in 2020 -- and it is in stark contrast to last year’s record after 20 matches, 10-10.

Sabalenka ready to chase down Swiatek and the No.1 ranking

This will be a career-first matchup between the two. One fact that could give Bouzkova a boost: Sabalenka struggled with an upper left leg issue in her opening match. 

Sorana Cirstea vs. Karolina Muchova

This is a battle of two resurgent talents who both made the quarterfinals at Indian Wells last week. 

Cirstea upset No.5 Garcia for the second time in 11 days on Friday. It went three sets in Indian Wells, but this was a tidier 6-2, 6-3. Her collaboration with Thomas Johansson is proving to be a good one.

After easing her way through qualifying into the main draw, Muchova has been dominant through her two matches in Miami. She was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over No.32 Zhu Lin and holds a 2-0 head-to-head edge over Cirstea, most recently winning in Dubai’s third round back in February, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

No.15 Petra Kvitova vs. No.22 Donna Vekic

Kvitova was a 6-3, 6-0 winner over fellow Czech Linda Noskova, while Vekic came back to beat Madison Brengle 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Their first match was nine years ago, also in Miami’s third round; the head-to-head is 3-1, Kvitova.