All Sam Stosur needs to kickstart her French Open campaign is a confidence boost, and Australia’s Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik believes she could get it this weekend.
The 2011 US Open winner has fallen to 26th on the world rankings, her lowest since 2009 when she reached the French Open semi-finals, but a return to the form that had her entrenched in the top ten is not out of the question, according to Molik.
The 31-year-old appeared to have turned a corner when she made a winning start to her clay court season a week ago, crushing Bulgaria’s Sesil Karatantcheva in the opening round of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina – but that was followed up by a surprise three-set defeat to Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena.
Despite Stosur’s indifferent form, which has her yet to post consecutive victories this season, Molik can see a spectacular return to the top is not far away – and believes it could start with this weekend’s Fed Cup World Group play-off in the Netherlands.
Australia will start raging hot favourites in `s-Hertogenbosch, with Stosur, Casey Dellacqua (44) and Jarmila Gajdosova (48) all ranked in the top 50, while the Dutch No.1, world No.86 Kiki Bertens, is their only representative in the top 100.
The tie looms as the perfect opportunity for Stosur to not only continue her clay court acclimatisation, but also gather some much-needed momentum.
“Sometimes it can just take a run of a win or two and the emotions to ride with it, and it can change your season around,” Molik told AAP.
“That’s what Fed Cup is about as well.
“It’s being in a team environment and giving the team something special you can walk away with and hopefully carry through the clay court season.”
Stosur herself believes this year’s French Open represents the best shot at adding a second grand slam title to her credentials.
“At the moment, it does seem like (my) best chance,” Stosur, who lost the 2010 final in Paris to Francesca Schiavone, told AAP.
“It’s a place where I obviously like to play and I’ve had a lot of great wins and good memories there.
“It’s certainly a place I feel like I’ve got a good chance if I do the right things and play at my ability.”