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|Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns the ball to Garbine Muguruza of Spain (unseen) during the final of the women's singles at the Qatar Open tennis competition. (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP)|
Kvitova overcame an awful start which saw her lose the first five games to eventually triumph 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
It is the first time Kvitova has been ranked among the world's elite since a horrific knife attack at her home in December 2016 left her with an injured hand.
"I remember sometime last year when I was asked about this, I couldn't even dream of it," she said. "It's a very special feeling to be back."
The win in Doha is the Czech star's second title of the season and 22nd career tournament victory. It also extended her current winning streak to 13 matches.
She also beat four players in the top 10 this week in Doha, including world number one Caroline Wozniacki, to take the title.
Kvitova began the year ranked number 29, but already won earlier this month in St Petersburg.
Her shaky start in Sunday's final extended to the second set, where Muguruza had break points in three separate service games.
She was unable to convert though and gradually Kvitova began to dominate and then broke the Spaniard's serve to edge ahead 4-2.
The third set followed a similar pattern, with Muguruza still having chances and even failed to take three break points in the fourth game of the decider.
It proved to be fatal as Kvitova not only held her serve but immediately broke the Spaniard's to take a lead in the match for the first time - an advantage she never relinquished.
Muguruza finished the game with heavy strapping on her left knee.
"I had a little bit of a struggle in the beginning with injury but I'm happy that I made the final," she said.
Despite the defeat, Muguruza will move up one position in the rankings, making her the world number three.