The first set was a see-saw affair, with four-time WTA titlists Kudryavtseva and Rodionova losing the first two games, winning three straight, losing one and then winning three straight again to seal it. But Hingis and Lisicki then grabbed the momentum, taking the first four games of a second set they would cruise through. They had to make a bit of a comeback in the match tie-break, where from 4-1 down they won five points in a row and eventually finished off the 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 victory.
A key stat was second serve return, as Hingis and Lisicki won 12 of 19 such points and Kudryavtseva and Rodionova just four of 16.
"We actually started well," Lisicki said. "We lost a bit of focus and then regained it in the second set and played quite well in the match tie-break."
This was Hingis and Lisicki's fifth match against a seeded duo in their seven matches together.
"They're a good doubles team," said Hingis, who was making her Madrid debut. "We always seem to play seeds in the first round. We don't get easy draws, but I think we can go out there and play against anybody. It's good to get the first win. Now we're in the second week of the tournament!"
Match tie-breaks, which early in Hingis' return to the doubles circuit last summer seemed to trouble her, are clearly no longer an issue. She and Lisicki have now won the last three they've been in, including two en route to the Miami title in their last outing.
The win was especially significant, in that Kudryavtseva and Rodionova came into Madrid in seventh place on the Road to Singapore leaderboard and Hingis and Lisicki were in 10th, and only eight spots are available.