The world number two admitted that Safarova outplayed her throughout the match and added that she was unable to take advantage of small opportunities which would have got her back into the game.
After falling behind 3-1 in the first set, Sharapova managed to rally back, but all her hard work was undone when she lost the tie-break to the number 13 seed.
It was a similar story in the second set as Sharapova found herself trailing 3-0 before bouncing back to make it 3-3.
However, Safarova managed to carve out a 5-4 advantage before toppling the defending champion with a short crosscourt forehand on her second match point opportunity.
"I feel like I had small openings, and I just wasn't able to play a good few points," Sharapova told the official WTA website. "I just wasn't able to keep that level up today. She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player, took the time away from me, created her angles – and I didn't.
"That was the difference today, in my opinion. My opponent was at a much higher level than I was, and more consistently than I was, and that results in a bad day at the office. It was just a tough day."