Romania’s Halep won four of the final five games in the third set to earn the biggest title win of her career??against the 30-year-old in two hours and 37 minutes which??featured 18 breaks of serve.
Jankovic served for the title at 5-4 up in the second but Halep battled back to secure a WTA Tour-leading third tournament victory of the year.
Halep improved to 6-0 in three-set matches this year, smacking a crosscourt forehand winner off Jankovic’s weak volley return on match point.
The Romanian looked down and out on more than one occasion as she struggled??with a foot problem and Jankovic gave her an almighty let-off when she passed up??the chance to serve for a second Indian Wells title.
Jankovic won her biggest career title in the desert back in 2010. This time, she committed 61 unforced errors and had nine double-faults, smiling wryly after her last one gave Halep match point.
“I want to congratulate Jelena you were amazing,” a gracious Halep said??afterwards. “At my age you won this tournament so well done for a great week, a??great job and an amazing final.
“I am really happy I could win today. This tournament has been amazing, I??thank all the Romanian people who come to support me everywhere. You make me??want to fight until the end.
“I am really excited to win this, my biggest title, I will never forget it.”