The 32-year-old made his first appearance since retiring in the semi-finals of the US Open in September - the Spanish star beaten by Kevin Anderson at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last week.
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the World Tennis Championship for a fourth time.
As for the real tournaments with points, the men are on stage in Brisbane (Rafael Nadal seed no.1, plus Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), Doha (Novak Djokovic leads, the even Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem) and Pune (Kevin Anderson at the head of the draw).
Djokovic extended his dominance over Anderson, whose only victory in 10 matches against the Serb came a decade ago in Miami.
Asked if there is a record he dreams of capturing before the end of his career, Djokovic said: "I would lie if I said I didn't want to get to as high a Grand Slam wins number as possible".
The Serbian-superstar found himself in a bit of trouble in the third game of the final set and had to dig deep to hold serve to take 2-1.
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Khachanov said of that setback: "I had a few chances opportunities in the first few games, there was a few times it was 0-30 on his serve".
Djokovic admitted he'd be "lying" if overhauling Roger Federer's mark of 20 Grand Slam titles was not on his mind, but insisted on Saturday it will be a great challenge to get there, especially with the sport's widely-hyped young generation stepping up.
In the super tiebreak, Khachanov raced away to a 5-1 lead aided by a couple of unforced errors from Thiem and didn't face much resistance as he wrapped up the match in 10-3 in an hour and 24 minutes. "I think we had some nice and exciting rallies".
"There are still things that I want to achieve", he said.
"It was one of the best match points I have ever played", he said.
Having arrived for the Brisbane International ahead of the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal is ready to put his injury woes behind him.
"I started about two weeks ago and I am taking small steps forward".