PARIS - After losing two match points in the second set and feeling her confidence fading, Kim Clijsters watched the match slip away Thursday at the French Open.
The two-time French Open runner-up, seeded second at this year's tournament, lost to the 114th-ranked Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
"I started doubting a little bit," said Clijsters, who played only her second match in two months after shoulder and ankle injuries. "When you start doubting yourself on any surface, but for me definitely on clay, it's the wrong attitude to have."
Maria Sharapova also struggled, but the seventh-seeded Russian won 11 straight games after trailing by 4-1 in the second set and beat 17-year-old Caroline Garcia of France, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, No. 6 Li Na of China, and No. 9 Petra Kvitova also advanced.
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray, two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling, and No. 10 Mardy Fish of the United States reached the third round, but No. 8 Jurgen Melzer of Austria lost in five sets to Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol.
Two days after Nadal was pushed to five sets for the first time in his career at Roland Garros, the top-ranked Spaniard won in three, beating Pablo Andujar of Spain, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Nadal trailed by 5-1 in the third set but forced the tiebreaker.
"Probably, I am playing a little bit nervous," Nadal said. "And that's why [my] legs didn't work as well as usual."
Nadal will face Antonio Veic of Croatia, who eliminated No. 28 Nikolay Davydenko, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
Clijsters, who had won her last 15 Grand Slam matches after taking the titles at last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open, failed to convert either match point in the second set.
Playing with her right ankle taped, the Belgian made 65 unforced errors in the match and lost 11 of the final 12 games. Rus finished with only 22 unforced errors and had only eight winners in the entire match.
Clijsters had no clay-court tournament preparation going into the French Open. She pulled out of the Indian Wells tournament in March because of shoulder and wrist injuries. Then she injured her right ankle while dancing at her cousin's wedding in April.
"My ankle feels fine, so that has absolutely nothing to do with it," Clijsters said. "If I felt like I wasn't ready as much as I would have liked to be, I wouldn't have come here. If I wasn't feeling like I was able to play tough matches, then I wouldn't have made that decision to come here."
Clijsters had her first chance to close out the match against the Dutchwoman when leading by 5-2 in the second set, but Rus saved the match point and held to make it 5-3 before breaking Clijsters to get back on serve.
"When I was 5-2 down in the second set, I was thinking, 'Just go for it and play more aggressive,' " Rus said. "And, yeah, that really helped.
"At 6-5, I had a really good serve game, and then I won the set. Then I was thinking, 'Yeah, I can win this match.' "