Halep battles back to claim Indian Wells crown

Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:58pm EDT
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INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Simona Halep won the BNP Paribas title with a 2-6 7-5 6-4 victory over former world number one Jelena Jankovic in a pulsating final at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Serbian Jankovic was serving for the title at 5-4 in the second set but world number three Halep won the next three games and battled back for the biggest title of her career.

"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 tense encounter had both players making plenty of mistakes but 23-year-old Halep displayed determination to secure her third title of the year following Shenzhen and Dubai.

The 30-year-old Jankovic, who had a testy exchange with her coach, showed clear signs of nerves when she had the title within her grasp in the second set and tired badly in the third.

Halep had a bye before the final after world number one Serena Williams withdrew from their semi-final with injury but the Romanian initially struggled.

Jankovic, who won at Indian Wells in 2010, dominated the first set, playing with freedom and fire but became tense within reach of victory.

She broke to 3-1 and 5-4 to serve for the match but was broken back on both occasions, the Romanian fighting for every point before finally closing out the 63-minute set.   Continued...

Mar 22, 2015; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Simona Halep (ROM) holds the championship trophy after she defeated Jelena Jankovic (SRB) in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports