Azarenka, who stunned Serena Williams to lift the trophy in 2009, was often in devastating form against the Russian as she swept to a 6-1 6-4 victory.
Sharapova, who returns to the world top 10 despite the defeat, won four of her five games on Azarenka’s serve as she embarrassingly held serve just once.
The tone for the clash was set in the first game as Sharapova had a long and fruitless fight to hold her serve, before breaking back instantly at 1-1.
That proved to be her last contribution of the set as Azarenka stormed clear, breaking back instantly, holding, breaking again thanks to a sweet backhand pass and then holding and breaking again.
The second set looked to be following a similar patter as Azarenka held serve and then took advantage of a double fault to break to 2-0.
At 3-0 she saved game points to break again, before Sharapova mounted a revival, breaking and then holding serve for the first time.
She won her third game on the spin with another break to go 4-3, but another double fault put Azarenka at 5-3 and on the brink of the win.
Azarenka displayed nerves on her serve and lost it again with a double fault but, in keeping with the set, broke back instantly to take the title.
“She did many things better than me today [Saturday],” said Sharapova.
“Against a player like her, you have to have that level from the beginning. It was an off day on many parts of the game.”
Azarenka thought she stifled her opponent by quickening up the speed of the game, preventing the Russian from booming her shots back over to her.
“I think I had the right tactics,” she said.
“She likes to swing big, and when she has time it’s really heavy. I tried to take time away.
“I changed my mentality a little bit. I am enjoying myself so much on the court.”