Simona Halep battled back from a set down to securing a 2-6 7-5 6-4 win over former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in a tense final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
Serbia’s Jankovic could not serve out the tie at 5-4 in the second set, allowing the No. 3-ranked Halep to win the next three games and close out victory in 63 minutes.
“I don’t know how I won today because I didn’t play my best,” Halep said. “I didn’t play good tennis, but I just wanted to fight till the end.
“I just had the confidence that I have my chance here in this tournament, and I just did everything to get it. I got it, and I’m really happy.”
The victory sealed a third title of the year for the 23-year-old, who also triumphed in Shenzhen and Dubai.
Halep was awarded a walk over in the semi-finals after world number one Serena Williams pulled out with injury.
Jankovic, 30, dominated the first set but could not control her nerves in the decisive moments of the second set, with the game within her grasp.
Winner in 2010, Jankovic broke for 3-1 and 5-4 to serve for his second Indian Wells title but was broken back by Halep on both occasions. The Romanian eventually captured the decisive break at 5-4 to secure her 11th WTA title.