Sharapova reached the semi-finals at last year's French Open and the final at Wimbledon on her rise back to the top of the game after injury.
She will complete that journey with a victory; the winner of the final is guaranteed to replace Caroline Wozniacki on top of the rankings.
Sharapova, 24, said it would not be easy, even though her opponent has never reached a slam final. "She's certainly won big titles and she has the experience," said Sharapova.
"This is a stage she's wanted to be at for a long time, so I do expect her to play really good tennis."
Azarenka, 22, said of the Russian: "I think she's a very tough opponent. She's been in the finals here, she won here."