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Soderling beats Federer at lucky 13th attempt

LONDON (Reuters) - Robin Soderling celebrated the New Year by claiming his first victory over Roger Federer at the 13th attempt, finally seeing off the world number one 6-7 7-6 6-2 at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The Swede had lost all 12 of his previous meetings with the current world number one, including a straight-sets defeat at last year's French Open final.

His luck changed with the coming of the new decade, however, as he fought back from a set and a break down to book a place in the final of the six-man event against Rafael Nadal.

"I always said the more times I play him, the closer I'll get, and here I am today," Soderling, the world number eight, said on court.

"It's going to be a long season for sure. Hopefully I'll get to play against Roger a few more times."

Nadal reached the final by winning an all-Spanish semi-final against David Ferrer 7-6 6-3.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Kevin Fylan)