In her first match since joining forces with new coach Wim Fissette, Azarenka was in vintage form, wrapping up a 6-0, 6-3 victory after little over an hour on court. Azarenka has now won 11 straight matches at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, having lifted the title on her past two visits, in 2012 and 2013.
A foot injury prevented Azarenka from defending her title last year, but she started off as if she had never been away, dropping just nine points as she romped through the first set. Kerber found a belated foothold in the match in the second, even carving out a break point at 3-3. Azarenka snuffed out this chance with a forehand winner onto the baseline and was soon back on the front foot, breaking herself in the next game before wrapping up victory with an emphatic serve down the middle.
"I'm pretty happy with it. You know, there is not a lot of things to complain about, but I always try to look at things that I can do better or just stay more consistent," Azarenka said. "I felt like, especially in the first set, I really stepped with the right attitude, with the right game plan and really executed it well.
"And the second set, I knew she was going to fight back and for me it was important to just stay consistent and stay in the moment, still stay in command. I feel like at 3-3 I've done that. I really took the game into my own hands again and finished pretty strong again."
Following an injury interrupted 2014 campaign, Azarenka has slipped to No.48 in the rankings and required a wildcard to take her place in the main draw. She has returned a more thoughtful character, taking a philosophical approach to her fitness woes.
"It's feeling pretty good right now. I always take it, you know, day by day and I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but right now I'm feeling good," she added. "I'm really paying a lot of attention on prevention and really working hard on my body to keep it strong, to keep it loose.
"I had a whole year to learn about my body last year. So I think I took the best out of those experiences and tried to develop a few new habits, a little bit of a new routine as well and just trying to keep things simple and work hard."