Melbourne, Australia, 13 May 2013 |

Sam Stosur will look to gain some valuable match practice ahead of the French Open when she contests the Internazionale BNL d’Italia this week in Rome.

Stosur’s build-up to Roland Garros has been hampered by a calf injury, which although healed, has robbed her of match practice. Her form and timing have thus been slightly off, resulting in first round exits in both Stuttgart and Madrid.

Granted, her first round opponents at those events – Jelena Jankovic and Carla Suarez Navarro respectively – are no slouches on clay, and are both at this time in-form players on the WTA Tour.

Thankfully, Stosur has received a slightly softer draw in Rome; the No.9 seed opens against the diminutive Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei, a player whose best results generally don’t come on European clay.

The pair met just three months ago in Dubai, with Stosur recording a commanding 6-4 6-0 victory over the 41st-ranked Hsieh.

Should she advance beyond that first hurdle, Stosur finds herself in a section of the draw containing fellow seeds Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. Both own superior head-to-head records against the Australian, but are not at their best on clay, and are currently searching for better form.

Although Stosur is the only Aussie in action at ATP/WTA level, there are plenty more battling it out at Challenger and ITF tournaments.

Olivia Rogowska and John Millman will also take to the European clay this week, with Rogowska contesting the $100,000 ITF event in Prague, Czech Republic, and Millman entered into the Bordeaux Challenger in France.

Compatriots Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith will remain in Asia, both in the draw at the Busna Challenger in South Korea.