Simona Halep claimed the biggest title of her career, lifting the Indian Wells WTA trophy with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over former champion Jelena Jankovic.
The hard-fought triumph over the former world number one from Serbia made Romania’s 23-year-old Halep the first player to win three WTA titles this year.
Halep, ranked third in the world, won four of the final five games in the third set to earn the marathon victory in two hours, 37 minutes.
“I don’t know how I won today because I didn’t play my best,” Halep said. “But I just wanted to fight till the end. Every match was very important for me, for my mind.
“I just had the confidence that I had a chance here in this tournament, and I just did everything to get it.
“I’m really happy that I have another title.”
Halep and Jankovic have a history of playing long, tight matches and Sunday was no different. They have now gone to three sets in all five career meetings with Halep leading the series 4-1. Jankovic, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but couldn’t close it out, was gracious in defeat.