The top-seeded Russian said the court was faster than expected after she hit 19 winners to 10 for Scheepers, who struggled with her serve and had eight double-faults.
"It's just faster than what we played on the last couple of months. In Fed Cup, it was fairly slow," said Sharapova, who won her singles match in Russia's 3-2 win over Spain last weekend.
"I just did all right. Just a couple of breaks back to back in the beginning of the first set, but after that I felt like I started playing much better."
Sharapova hit a forehand winner to take a first set in which Scheepers dropped serve four times. She then broke twice in the second, clinching victory when Scheepers sent a backhand into the net.
Sharapova is set to rise to No. 2 in the world when the WTA releases the rankings Monday, after current No. 2 player Petra Kvitova failed to return to defend her Paris title.
"It's a goal of mine to get to No. 1," Sharapova said. "But having been in that position before, I think my main goal is more the Grand Slams."
Niculescu outlasted Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in an erratic match with 14 service breaks.
Zakopalova cruised past French wild card Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-1 by winning eight straight games to lead 5-0 in the second set.
Wickmayer led 6-1 in her first-round match when American veteran Jill Craybas retired because of a right leg injury.