Nicol David saved four successive match points as she beat Raneem el Weleily to win her eighth world title.
The Malaysian world number one was on the brink of defeat against her third-seeded Egyptian rival when she trailed 10-6 in the fourth game of the final.
But the 31-year-old fought back to triumph 5-11 11-8 7-11 14-12 11-5 in front of a partisan Cairo crowd.
"I think it's the most memorable match of my entire career," David told the BBC World Service.
"To win this world title in that way, I don't think there's any match that could compare to that."
David, the first player to top the world rankings for 100 consecutive months, reclaims the title won by England's Laura Massaro in March.
Massaro was beaten in the quarter-finals by countrywoman Alison Waters, who lost to el Weleily in the last four.