Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Netherlands' Kiki Bertens. Photo: Paul Hanna/Reuters

MADRID – Petra Kvitova outlasted the unseeded Kiki Bertens to win a thrilling Madrid Open final on Saturday 7-6(8-6) 4-6 6-3 and become the first player to lift the trophy for a third time.

Czech Kvitova, ranked 10th in the world, struck the first blow in a tense match which lasted two hours 52 minutes by edging the tie-break at the end of a gruelling 75-minute first set, taking advantage of a third set point when Bertens found the net.

The Dutchwoman recovered well from surrendering the first set to take the second.

She led by a break in the third, but let her advantage slip and Kvitova broke twice in a row to take a 4-2 lead in the decider.

Bertens broke back to make it 4-3 but lost her next service game and Kvitova served out the final game to love, sealing victory when Bertens hit the tramlines with a backhand.

“Everything what I had in my body, I just tried to put it out, even if it was very, very tough today,” Kvitova said. “She played great tennis. It was a big fight. We both should be very proud of this beautiful final we played today.”

Kvitova has returned from injury with a vengeance, winning the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, the Qatar Total Open and the Prague Open this year before making history in Madrid.

“It feels sweet and weird as well,” added Kvitova. “I didn't really expect that, even the same time last year. Even coming from Prague last week, I didn't think I could be in the final, winning another trophy. 

My body is exhausted, so I'm pretty surprised.”