Always fighting: Simona Halep wins Indian Wells, stops Jankovic

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BNP Paribas Indian Wells – Simona Halep believes that one-day, soon, she can win a Grand Slam for the first time. But first things first and at Indian Wells, she grabbed her largest title, beating Jelena Jankovic 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

Both women were pretty tired at the end, ending the match at 2 hours and 37 minute. Jankovic is 30 years old and has a load of experience, but she can get frighten while the Romanian kept battling. Her feet hurt and it was pretty painful, but the world No. 3 kept on digging, moving forward on her big forehands and keeping her backhand deep. Yes, both of them had played better matches overall, but it was what it was and she still had to fight on.

She did, battling to the last ball while Jankovic gave up in the last few games.

This year, Halep has been pretty darn good. She opened the year by winning Shenzhen, beating the now good Timea Bacsinszky in the final. At the Australian Open, she went down to Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinals. At the Fed Cup at home against Spain, she beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa but lost to Garbine Muguruza. However, Romania won anyway.

But then Halep began to explode. She won Dubai with an important match by besting Makarova, then taking down Caroline Wozniacki and then the huge server Karolina Pliskova in the final.

At Indian Wells, she had to battle every step of the way. She grinded by besting three sets over Daria Gavrilova and Varvara Lepchenko, beat Pliskova again, and then winning another three setter, this time over Carla Suarez.

Fortunately – or unfortunately – Serena Williams pulled out with an injury so Halep had more rest before the final.

She knew that Jankovic would move the ball around all day long, but she was willing to stay in there all day.

“You cannot play your best tennis and then you fight like I did [against Indian Wells]. So it’s compensating. Sometimes you can fight till the end and sometimes you play good and you cannot fight,” Halep said. “In Australia I think I played good tennis, but I couldn’t fight. So for the most important thing it’s just to have this feeling to fight till the end. This tournament gives me a lot of confidence that I can be there, I can win every tournament, so now I have more confidence that I can win a Grand Slam.”

Outside of Williams and Maria Sharapova, since the 23 year old Halep has been more consistent. Throw in her 2014 Roland Garros final, the Wimbledon semifinal, the WTA final and the Madrid final, and she looks like a Slam ready for a taking.

She will play Miami, then play the Fed Cup again and then on to the clay. She has to prove beating the great veterans, Serena and Sharapova. She can do it, but has to let it all hang out and out stoke them.

However, Halep is already very close now.

“This tournament [Indian Wells] gives me a lot of confidence that I can be there, I can win every tournament, so now I have more confidence that I can win a Grand Slam,” Halep said.

 

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