Sharapova, the No.4 seed at one of the four biggest tournaments of the year outside the Grand Slams and WTA Championships, had come back from a set down in her 26 63 63 semifinal win over No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva as well, later saying she got her momentum going by sharpening up her footwork.
Whatever she did to find her game again the night before, she did so again on Sunday evening against the No.13-seeded Jankovic, not only rallying from an early break down in the second set but three times coming from a break down in the third. Jankovic eventually double faulted twice in a row to give Sharapova the decisive break and a 5-3 lead, and the Russian served the match out at 30.
"It was a really tough one out there. It was so physical, which is something to expect when you're playing Jelena," Sharapova said. "In the end it could have gone either way. We kept breaking each other. It felt like one of us played a few good points then the other one, and the levels were up and down throughout the match. I'm just fortunate that at the end of the day, I'm the winner."
"I had my chances and it could have gone either way, but in the end she was the better player," Jankovic said. "I think my biggest mistake was I didn't serve well today. I'd break her many times and would serve to go two games ahead, but it didn't happen. It shows the match isn't over until you shake hands."
Sharapova was asked about the aforementioned 2010 final against Clijsters. "I was so close last year, so it's nice to have that feeling of being the champion. It wasn't really something I thought about coming in this week. I just knew I played some good tennis here last year, and I hoped I could take it a step further."
Sharapova has been showing improved fitness throughout the year, now 11-0 in three set matches on the season. With her second WTA title of the year and the 24th of her career, the former No.1 now moves back to No.4 in the world, her highest ranking since her shoulder injury lay-off from August 2008 to May 2009.
Jankovic, who beat No.7 seed Francesca Schiavone and No.9 seed Andrea Petkovic en route to the final, dropped out of the Top 10 after the French Open but will now get a little bit closer to that elite again, rising from No.14 to No.12.
"I wasn't doing well and lost in the first round of Toronto the week before. I was kind of rusty and didn't feel confident. But this is what happens when you keep winning matches - I got a couple wins and I was getting better and better."
Jankovic's confidence continued to come through as she was asked who the favorites for the US Open are. "I want to believe I'm going to be up there as well. I can mention names - obviously Maria, the Williams sisters... but I want to believe I can go far. I've been a finalist there, a semifinalist and a quarterfinalist, so I have had good results in the past and I love playing over there.
"It's pretty special. It brings the most out of me when it comes to Grand Slams."