Nonlinear evolution of long-crested wave groups can lead to extreme interactions with coastal and marine structures. In the present study the role of nonlinear evolution in the formation of extreme run-up events on a vertical wall is investigated. To this end, the fundamental problem of interaction between non-breaking water waves and a vertical wall over constant water depth is considered. In order to simulate nonlinear wave–wall interactions, the high-order spectral method is applied to a computational domain which aims to represent a two-dimensional wave flume. Wave generation is simulated at the flume entrance by means of the additional potential concept. Through this concept, the implementation of a numerical wavemaker is applicable. In addition to computational efficiency, the adopted numerical approach enables one to consider the evolution of nonlinear waves while preserving full dispersivity. Utilizing these properties, the influence of the nonlinear wave evolution on the wave run-up can be examined for a wide range of water depths. In shallow water, it is known that nonlinear evolution of incident waves may result in extreme run-up events due to the formation of an undular bore. The present study reveals the influence of the nonlinear evolution on the wave run-up in deep-water conditions. The results suggest that extreme run-up events in deep water may occur as a result of the disintegration of incident wave groups into envelope solitons.