Nadal, who was the bookmakers' pre-tournament favourite to win the men's event at Flushing Meadows, had never previously faced the Brazilian.
In turned out to be a short, but sweet, encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium, as the world number two was at his imperious best, dropping only three games and sealing victory in just over 90 minutes.
Recap how the match unfolded below with Sports Mole's blow-by-blow text coverage.
1.51amHere we go then. The start of this match is just 10 minutes away.
1.54amNadal, who is unbeaten on hard courts in 2013 and looking to record his 17th straight win, has just been talking to host broadcaster ESPN...
1.55am"I am very excited to get on court," says Nadal. "Night sessions are always special here in New York."
1.56am"I always have respect for my opponent. He had an amazing [4-6 3-6 7-6 6-2 7-6] victory over [Vasek] Pospisil in the last round, so he must be playing very well," adds Nadal, who then admits that he used YouTube to research Dutra Silva.
1.58amThe Brazilian sounds like he is just here to have a good time. He says: "I'm going to enjoy the moment against a real legend."
1.59amCarlos Ramos is in charge tonight and the Portuguese umpire calls time. Dutra Silva to serve first...
Nadal 0-0* Dutra SilvaTRIPLE BREAK POINT NADAL: The Spaniard keeps it simple early on, just getting the ball back into court. The tactic pays off, as Dutra Silva provides a trio of slack errors.
Nadal *0-1 Dutra SilvaDUTRA SILVA HOLDS: The Brazilian finds a few first serves and manages to reel off five straight points to hold to 40. He dug himself out of a huge hole there. What a start!
Nadal 1-1* Dutra SilvaDOUBLE BREAK POINT NADAL: Dutra Silva is certainly committing to his shots. His policy of aiming for the lines backfires though, as he slams a fierce forehand inches wide. 15-40.
Nadal *2-1 Dutra SilvaNADAL BREAKS: The Spaniard let his opponent off in game one, but there is no such reprieve for Dutra Silva on this occasion. The underdog whips a backhand wide and Nadal breaks to 15.
Nadal 3-1* Dutra SilvaArthur Ashe Stadium is finally getting close to full capacity, but there are still some supporters taking their seats. Nadal briefly pauses to stare at a couple of latecomers, before he resumes play and holds to love.
Nadal *3-2 Dutra SilvaThe Brazilian halts Rafa's run of three consecutive games by recording a much-needed hold to 15.
Nadal *3-2 Dutra SilvaDutra Silva wins the first point of game six, before Rafa unleashes a huge forehand that lands plumb on corner of baseline and sideline. The Brazilian then puffs out his cheeks and mutters "wow" under his breath. Wow indeed! 15-15.
Nadal 4-2* Dutra SilvaBREAK POINT NADAL: Dutra Silva's forehand is on fire at the moment. His backhand, not so much though. The Brazilian slaps wide at the net and it is advantage Rafa.
Nadal *5-2 Dutra SilvaNADAL BREAKS: Rafa crunches a stinging backhand pass down the line. Dutra Silva, who again rushed forward, can only pat into the net and Rafa will now serve for the opening set.
Nadal 6-2 0-0* Dutra SilvaFIRST SET NADAL: Power, placement and (close to) perfection. Rafa is on fire right now. He holds to 15 and claims the opening set after 33 minutes.
Nadal 6-2 0-0* Dutra SilvaRafa won 29 of 46 total points in that opening set. The world number two hit nine winners and six unforced errors, while Dutra Silva produced six unforced errors and just four winners.
Nadal 6-2 0-0* Dutra SilvaDutra Silva is ready to get the second set underway but, as usual, Nadal is refusing to be rushed. For anyone who has ever wondered exactly what Rafa's pre-point routine is, I have observed closely and it is as follows... Fixes underpants, picks shirt away from each shoulder, scratches nose, rubs ear, scratches nose again and then rubs other ear. Every time.
Nadal 6-2 *0-1 Dutra SilvaBREAK POINT DUTRA SILVA: The Brazilian benefits from a lucky net cord, before punishing Nadal with a deep forehand from the net. Rafa's racquet makes contact, but his makeshift lob drops long. 30-40.
Nadal 6-2 1-1* Dutra SilvaNadal saves the break point and goes on to hold to 40. Dutra Silva is kicking himself because he missed a crucial sitter at the net in that game. After playing a tidy drop shot, the Brazilian got complacent. He clearly wasn't expecting Rafa to make a return and, when the Spaniard did, Dutra Silva's shock was there for all to see as he hooked a simple backhand horribly wide.
Nadal 6-2 3-1* Dutra SilvaRuthless Rafa quickly extinguishes his opponent's optimism, winning four straight points and holding to 30. Then, for the first time tonight, the 12-time Grand Slam winner lets out a scary war cry of "VAMOS!"
Nadal 6-2 3-1* Dutra SilvaTRIPLE BREAK POINT NADAL: Dutra Silva's spirit seems to be broken as Rafa earns three chances to secure a double break in set two.
Nadal 6-2 5-1* Dutra SilvaSET POINT NADAL: Dutra Silva shanks a forehand into the New York sky and then looks down in shear disappointment. 30-40.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 *0-0 Dutra SilvaSECOND SET NADAL: Dutra Silva looks like a broken man. A lifeless double fault seals his fate in set two as Rafa breaks to 30. The match is 64 minute's old.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 *0-0 Dutra SilvaJust as in set one, Dutra Silva won 17 points in the second. Meanwhile, Rafa claimed 27 points - two fewer than in the first. However, the Spaniard's winners count increased. He hit 10 winners and four unforced errors, while his opponent made two winners and eight unforced errors, including three double faults.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 *0-0 Dutra SilvaBoth players remove their sweaty shirts and replace them with fresh ones during the change of ends. Rafa elects to swap like for like, however Dutra Silva has replaced his fluorescent yellow tee-shirt with a simple black one. Will his change of kit bring about a change of fortune? I'm going to guess that it won't, but let's find out...
Nadal 6-2 6-1 1-0* Dutra SilvaRafa holds to 30. To his credit, Dutra Silva is still producing some sweet hitting. However, as was recently the case when the pair stripped off, the Brazilian is simply being out gunned.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 *2-0 Dutra SilvaNADAL BREAKS: Rafa wears Dutra Silva down and breaks to 40. The Spaniard's fitness levels are unparalleled and his opponent, dripping with sweat, looks spent. He will certainly sleep tonight!
Nadal 6-2 6-1 3-0* Dutra SilvaThere is not questioning the fact that Dutra Silva has been outplayed, but, by no means, has the Brazilian embarrassed himself. As I type, he produces a magnificently-disguised drop shot, which sparks respectful applause from Nadal. 15-15.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 *4-0 Dutra SilvaNADAL BREAKS: Dutra Silva produces one of his best points of the match, but it is not enough, as Rafa, on the defensive, comes up with an instinctive lob that lands just inside the baseline. The Spaniard breaks to 30.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 5-0* Dutra SilvaRafa holds to love. He has won 12 of 14 service points in this set. Dutra Silva must now serve to avoid receiving a third-set bagel, which would be harsh.
Nadal 6-2 6-1 6-0 Dutra SilvaGAME SET AND MATCH NADAL: Harsh but true! Rafa breaks to 30 as Dutra Silva goes long. The second seed is through to round three, having dropped just three games en route to beating the world number 134 in one hour and 32 minutes.
3.34amRafa, who has now won 17 straight matches, will face Ivan Dodig next.
3.37amSpeaking to host broadcaster ESPN, the victorious Nadal says: "I was solid with my serve, which is always important on these courts. I think I played well. I started a bit slow, but played better and better as the match went on."
3.38amNadal hit a mammoth 30 winners during the entire match. He made 15 unforced errors and won 84 of 130 total points.
3.39amHis opponent finished up with nine winners and 22 unforced errors.
3.43amDutra Silva said before the match that he was going to "enjoy" playing "a real legend" tonight. Well, I'm not sure that the Brazilian ended up having as much fun as he was hoping for. However, I certainly enjoyed watching Rafa at his brilliant best and I hope that you enjoyed following the action with Sports Mole too. Until next time, goodbye.