A woman has been sexually assaulted in Melbourne's inner suburbs, police say.

The 24-year-old woman was walking along Grandview Grove in Prahran about 5.50pm (AEDT) on Thursday when a man grabbed her from behind and sexually assaulted her, police said.

The woman managed to break free before the man ran off.

He is described as being of Southern European appearance, between 40 and 45 years of age, of medium build and with straight, collar-length hair.

At the time of the attack, he was wearing green trousers and a dark long sleeve top.

Police are urging any witnesses to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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