GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) -- Top seed Venus Williams beat Switzerland's Patty Schnyder 6-0, 6-4 on a sweltering day at the Australian women's hardcourt tennis championships Wednesday. \n\nOfficials were forced to delay some matches as temperatures reached 104 degrees on center court at the Royal Pines Resort. \n\nWilliams, who won two Grand Slam events last year -- Wimbledon and the U.S. Open -- is preparing for the first of 2002 -- the Australian Open beginning Jan. 14. \n\nShe broke Schnyder four times without losing her own serve, and landed seven aces. \n\n``I really couldn't believe the shots I was making,'' Williams said. ``I haven't played since the U.S. Open in September and I surprised myself.'' \n\nWilliams faces eighth-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan in the quarterfinals Thursday. \n\nIn another match, German qualifier Anca Barna beat Australian Nicole Pratt 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. \n\n``It's definitely the hottest conditions I have played in for a long, long time,'' said Pratt, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., but grew up in the tropical north Queensland state town of Mackay. \n\nBarna, who looked on the verge of collapse at the end of the second set, took a 10-minute rest break before recovering to beat Pratt. \n\n``In the second set I thought 'I don't know how I am going to get through this,''' Barna said. \n\nWTA Tour supervisor Jimmy Moore stepped in to delay a doubles match on the unsheltered outside court as officials waited for the electronic temperature gauge to drop. \n\nFifth-seeded Silvia Farina-Elia survived a three-setter against South Korean qualifier Cho Yoon-jeong. \n\nFarina-Elia, a finalist on the Gold Coast last year, won 7-6 (5) 4-6, 6-3.