Rus, ranked 114th in the world, reached the third round of a Grand Slam tennis tournament for the first time with the 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory. She fought off two match points in the second set and won 11 of the final 12 games on a windy day at Roland Garros.
“This is for sure my biggest win,” the 20-year-old said in a news conference. “It was really nice to play against her. She’s a real hero.”
Sharapova was two games from defeat before coming back to beat French teenager Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. The seventh- seeded Russian won the final 11 games of the match.
Nadal, the top seed who is seeking his record-tying sixth French Open championship, beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 7- 5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to join No. 4 Murray of Britain and No. 5 Robin Soderling of Sweden in the third round. Murray beat Italy’s Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-5, and Soderling defeated Albert Ramos of Spain 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Clijsters was up a set and 5-2 in the second when she failed to convert her first match point. Rus then won five straight games, saving another match point, to force the decisive set.
After Clijsters took the opening game of the third set, Rus won the next six to close out the match. Clijsters, a four-time major champion who’s never won a title at Roland Garros, made 65 unforced errors, compared to 22 for Rus.
Sharapova was down a set and 4-1 against Garcia, a 17-year- old ranked 188th in the world. The three-time Grand Slam champion then broke Garcia’s serve three times to take the second set and dominated the third as Garcia made 13 unforced errors.
“I was just trying to stay in the match,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview. “The conditions were tough, but I turned it around.”
Nadal battled for more than three hours to improve his record at the French Open to 40-1. He trailed 1-5 in the third set before fighting off eight set points to force a tiebreaker.
Nadal took a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker before Andujar won three straight points. Andujar then dumped a drop shot into the net and Nadal won the next point to end the match.
Murray needed almost three hours to defeat the 126th-ranked Bolelli, who led 5-3 in the third set before dropping the final four games.
“I was really, really happy to come through today,” Murray told reporters. “It was a match that I would have been expected to win and it was a very tough one.”
Soderling won the first two sets from Ramos and broke for a 4-3 lead in the third. After dropping the next game on serve, he broke serve again and served out the match.
Mardy Fish, the 10th seed from the U.S., defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-1. He’s the only American man left in the field after No. 24 Sam Querrey lost to Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets.
No. 15 Viktor Troicki of Serbia, No. 16 Fernando Verdasco of Spain, No. 18 Gilles Simon of France and No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine won, while No. 8 Jurgen Melzer of Austria, No. 20 Florian Mayer of Germany, No. 27 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and 28th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko all lost.
In the women’s draw, No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, No. 6 Li Na of China, No. 9 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, No. 15 Andrea Petkovic of Germany, No. 16 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, No. 21 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, No. 24 Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia, No. 25 Maria Kirilenko of Russia and No. 30 Roberta Vinci of Italy all won in straight sets. No. 27 Alexandra Dulgheru lost to Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 7-5 in a match between Romanian players.