Nouran Gohar in five tight games on Sunday.
Gohar, aged only 18, had been trying to become the youngest women's winner, but after a match full of unusually hard hitting she was beaten 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.
For the second time in the tournament Gohar suffered a bleeding knee which required treatment, and after a nine-minute delay Sherbini produced a brilliant forehand counter-hit and then two more heavy, accurate forehand drives to close it out.
"It's really weird to hear that I am champion," said Sherbini, who played in the 2012 final but is still only 20. "The last two points depended on such a small margin.
"I'm very proud be the first Egyptian (woman) to win. It's a huge thing and hopefully other Egyptians will make us proud."
With the men's final later being between two of her compatriots, that sentiment was certain to be realised soon.
Mohamed El Shorbagy, the defending champion, was taking on Ramy Ashour, who became the first Egyptian in almost 50 years to take the title when he won three years ago.
In a thrilling final game, Sherbini was warned for a collision early on, and then frustrated by a controversial "no let" decision which helped Gohar to reduce a three-point deficit to one at 6-7.
It was still one point, at 7-8, when Sherbini pointed out that her already badly cut knee had started bleeding again, and she was obliged to leave the court.
"I am very sad," Gohar said, bravely holding back the tears while still on court.
"I was so close. But it was my first final and I didn't quite have the experience to win it."