INDIAN WELLS, California (AFP) - Simona Halep claimed the biggest win of her career on Sunday, 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.
Halep broke Jankovic for the ninth and last time in the final game as she clinched the premier level title with cross-court forehand winner that Jankovic had no chance on.
Both players had difficulty holding their serves throughout as there were a total of 18 breaks.
Jankovic looked dominant in winning the final five games to take the first set but then her serve let her down in the second and third as she won just 12 points in total on her second serve.