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CHENNAI, India (Reuters) - Swedish world number eight Robin Soderling believes he can challenge for a first grand slam success at this month's Australian Open after a breakthrough victory over world number one Roger Federer.
Soderling, 25, claimed his first victory over the Swiss ace at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on January 1 after having lost all 12 of their previous meetings, including defeat at last year's French Open final.
"If I continue to play the way I have been doing for the last six months or so I think I have a good chance there," Soderling said on Monday.
The Swede enjoyed an impressive season in 2009 in which he also reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open and the last 16 of Wimbledon --- losing to Federer on both occasions --- but is yet to go past the second round at the Australian Open.
"I've played a few good matches there. I don't really know why I didn't produce any good results there. I've been injured two times, so I haven't played every year," said Soderling, speaking at the Chennai Open where he is the top seed.
"I don't see any reason why I couldn't play well there."
"I think I got the best possible preparation for the season," he said of the Abu Dhabi tournament where he lost to world number two Rafa Nadal in the final.
"Roger, to me, is the world's best player. The best player of all time. So he's not easy to beat.
"I think, you know, from every match we've played I learnt something. Those things better count. I must have learnt something, so you know. I played better, that's what you got to do to beat him, you have to play at your best."
Soderling plays American Robby Ginepri in the Chennai Open first round on Tuesday.
Editing by Justin Palmer