DUBAI. Coco Gauff had trouble closing out and needed to save two match points before finally fending off Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 3, 2-6, 7-6 8 to advance to the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. . . The 16-year-old American led 5-1 in the third set and twice had chances to serve out the match, holding four match points in the 10th game, but Alexandrova rallied to force a tiebreaker. Gauff then had to save match points in the tiebreaker before winning the last three points to finish off the match in 2 hours, 40 minutes. . . There were times when we both could have thrown in the towel and gave up, but we both were mentally fighting. I think its just one of those that youre happy that its over, and happy that you fought through it, Gauff said. . . Gauffs 17th birthday is next Saturday, the same day as the Dubai final. Thatd be a pretty good birthday gift, to make it to the final, she said. The top eight seeds had a first-round bye. . . In other matches Sunday, Ons Jabeur opened with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova upset 16th-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-2, 7-6 4. Veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova had a 6-4, 1-6, 6-5 win over Wang Qiang and advanced to the second round along with Anastasija Sevastova and Alize Cornet.