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Smith will have a real shot at a medal in the pommel horse final
Two British gymnasts reached men's finals but it was hosts China who set the standard in Beijing on Saturday.
Louis Smith, 19, qualified fifth in the men's pommel horse despite being below his best while Daniel Keatings squeezed into the 24-man all-around final.
"It was running through my head, 'clean routine, clean routine' and I must have tensed up a bit, but I just got through my routine," Smith told BBC Sport.
In the men's team event China qualified in top place ahead of Japan and Russia.
China's defending world champion Yang Wei qualified first in the individual, ahead of Fabian Hambuechen of Germany, Korea's Kim Daeeun and the Japanese pair of Kohei Uchimura and Koki Uchimura.
China's rings world champion Chen Yibing said he was stunned by the supportive crowd.
"The atmosphere was really good, everybody telling you 'go, go, go'. I've never had that feeling before," Chen said.
The injury-weakened US team qualified sixth out of the eight participants in the team final.
The Americans, who were already missing reigning all-around champion Paul Hamm, saw his brother Morgan pull out injured on Thursday.
"Our goal was to hit our routines and I think we achieved that. I'm very, very pleased with this incredible group of young men," US head coach Kevin Mazeika said.
Canada's Kyle Shewfelt, the defending Olympic floor champion, scored a relatively modest 15.525 but it was still a remarkable comeback after he broke both his legs last year while training for the world championships.
"I came here to achieve a personal victory and for my team and I did that," the 26-year-old said, adding "the best is yet to come" as he looked forward to defending his title in the finals.