I think that Almagro and Berdych don`t like each other much. Have it something with episode at AO-11 or not, but you can notice how spaniard watches at him and raise his level always against him. Today he gave his best in two sets too, just wasn`t enough, but he tried.
*AO-12. But to answer your question, yes it does make the players raise their level. I know it's not exactly the same, but when I was a kid there was always this other kid who I couldn't stand because he was a complete cheater. And I had to face him a lot of times and always exerted all of my energy just to beat that kid's behind! It's so satisfying to beat someone you don't like